During the Kedah state assembly session on Tuesday (21 September), the Kedah Menteri Besar (MB), Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has claimed that Penang is a state “leased” from Kedah and hence, it should not criticised its neighbour for its affairs.
“Penang is not a state that exists by itself. According to the history of the country, Penang is a state leased from Kedah.”
“If we lease someone’s land and then we become angry with the landlord we lease it from, that is not appropriate.” he said, according to Berita Harian.
After the comment, the Malaysian Historical Society’s state chapter has called for the government to review the history surrounding Sir Capt Francis Light, and the fact that there was no treaty signed in 1786 between Kedah and Light.
The chairman of the group’s Kedah chapter, Ibrahim Bakar in a webinar said the research conducted by local historians and International Islamic University Malaysia Prof Datuk Ahmad Murad Merican found Sultan Abdullah and Francis Light had never signed any agreement or lease letter related to the handover of Penang from Kedah to the British East India Company at that time, contrary to what is in history books.
“It was already explained 50 years ago, by Historian, R Bonney in his book Kedah 1771-1821: The Search for Security and Independence ’that there was no lease agreement, but we still use the colonial narrative that Penang was leased from Kedah.”
“The agreement document displayed so far is incorrect because it is just a discussion between the Sultan of Kedah and Francis Light only, this matter should be explained to all parties that no valid lease agreement was made between the two.” he said at a press conference on Friday (24 September).
Meanwhile, the documents that is said to be the lease agreement from Kedah are on display at the Penang Museum apart from being kept by the National Archives as national heritage.
Nonetheless, Ibrahim Bakar has urge the state government to hold serious discussion with the Federal Government to reach a new understanding, including the annual payment rate to Kedah.
In addition, he strongly suggest that the historical narrative related to Penang to be corrected so that all parties understand the true position of the relationship between Kedah and Penang which is much distorted.
“Based on the arguments in the book ‘Kedah 1771-1821: The Search for Security and Independence’, we find that there is no valid agreement between Kedah and any party regarding the occupation of Penang.”
“Based on that argument as well, we take a stand in support of the statement by Kedah Menteri Besar, Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor that Penang is the legal property of Kedah until now.” he said.
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