Pakatan Harapan Federal Government will introduce a new Federalism to devolve more powers and allocate more funds not only to Sabah and Sarawak but also to the various state governments in Peninsular Malaysia
As Penang DAP State Chairman and Penang Executive Councillor Chow Kon Yeow observed just now, this gathering is quite unique and historic as we have here three persons closely connected with the political development of Tanjong constituency, two former MPs and the current MP for Tanjong Parliamentary constituency, as I had been Tanjong MP for three terms from 1986 – 1999, Chow Kon Yeow MP for Tanjong for three terms from 1999 to 2013 and Ng Wei Aik, Tanjong MP since 2013.
When I moved from Kota Melaka to contest in Tanjong parliamentary constituency in 1986, the objective was to make Penang the front-line state for political change in Malaysia for democracy, human rights, justice, the rule of law and an united, harmonious.
It was not a simple or easy task, and it was not until 22 years later in the 2008 General Election that the DAP succeeded in making Penang the front-line state for political change in Malaysia by capturing and forming the Penang State Government with our political allies.
Malaysians from all over the country outside Penang are very impressed by the political changes in Penang since the 2008 General Election and hope that they can bring about similar political changes in the other states in the country, except for a few who want to put the clock back by bringing back the past where Penang is basically an UMNO state, as what UMNO decided even in the innermost UMNO councils were the law of the land, whether nationally or in the Penang state.
The 14th General Election will be held in the next 100 days, most likely in April or May.
If Pakatan Harapan of DAP, PKR, AMANAH and PBBM succeed in the uphill and formidable task to create history in the 14th General Election and topple Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and for the first time in 60-year electoral history, send the UMNO/BN coalition into the political wilderness, there will a new Federal Government in Putrajaya with Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as the seventh Prime Minister and Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the Deputy Prime Minister, as well as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the eighth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Even more important than having a new Federal Government and a new Prime Minister (or the return of Mahathir to the Prime Minister’s Office after having been Prime Minister for 22 years at the fourth PM of Malaysia), there will new policy changes with a whole gamut of institutional and systemic reforms so that Malaysia can re-set nation-building policies and directions to return to the constitutional compact when Malaya achieved Merdeka in 1957 and Malaysia was formed in 1963.
The Chowrasta Market which I visited just now was a completely different market from the Chowrasta Market during my time as MP for Tanjong, but despite the RM13 million renovation by the Penang state authorities, the Penang State Government faces grave financial constraints and limitations.
Penang’s financial dilemma is best illustrated but the fact that the Penang State Government’s annual budget is less than 0.5 per cent of the federal budget, but it still pays the most tax per capita compared to other states while getting the least federal budget allocation per capita.
A new Pakatan Harapan Federal Government in Putrajaya will introduce a new Federalism, devolving powers and funds not only to Sabah and Sarawak but to the state governments in Peninsular Malaysia by ensuring that they are allocated more funds and powers to directly uplift the quality of life of all Malaysians.
In the 14GE, the front-line state for political change has moved from Penang to the other states, particularly Johor, for if we are to create history first time in 60 years to bring about a new Federal Government government in Putrajaya, the voters of Johor must join the people of Penang to spearhead the demand for political change and reform in the country.