The Indian PM’s visit to Malaysia was hardly a case of a foreign premier visiting a foreign land; it was more akin to a visit by a long-gone relative, coming home to say hello, observes Farish Noor.
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.
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.