Power must be devolved, decision-making must be decentralised, and development funds must be shared all the way down, asserts Francis Loh.
In our cover story, Sheridan Mahavera explores federal-state relations in relation to Sarawak and Sabah. The people of these two states have to believe that there is hope, not only for change through the ballot box but for a better shared destiny between east and west Malaysia.
Sheridan follows up by interviewing political economist Andrew Aeria, who speaks frankly about the divide between east and west and suggests what can be done to overcome it.
Barring massive electoral fraud, Anwar is one by-election and two weeks short of returning to Parliament. When he does, he’d be the Opposition Leader of a second coalition, says Khoo Boo Teik. After that people would want to know if he’d really form a new Federal government in mid-September as he has declared, promised, or threatened.
As the posturings over federal-state relations intensify, BN Members of Parliament from Sabah and Sarawak have seized the opportunity to flex their electoral muscles. Despite their differences with one another, it is significant that the various BN Sabah component parties are speaking with a single voice on their set of demands. Francis Loh observes that Malaysia’s federalism is undergoing restructuring from a centralised system to a more decentralised model that could consolidate our democracy.
These are exciting times for Malaysia. Following the political tsunami, many analysts have discussed the new political landscape in the country. One crucial area, however, has not received enough attention: the changing dynamics of federal-state relations.
Francis Loh addresses this deficit with a cover story that traces the factors that have contributed towards Malaysia’s centralised federal system. This system is now under pressure with the new march towards decentralisation and good governance.
Clearly, newly-minted Housing and Local Government Minister, Ong Ka Chuan of the MCA, has not got the message from the general election result, observes Tingang. He’s saying that so-called “federal funds” will go to the PR-ruled states through a separate federally, i.e. BN, controlled channel. This is spitting in the faces of the people who voted in the PR governments.