Statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

The Government, we are told, is being generous to the people of Kelantan by offering them a “compassionate payment.” I have been accused of being unhelpful by standing before prayer groups of 60,000-80,000 in sports stadiums to confuse them with notions of their sovereign rights.

Some members of my party have expressed dismay at my action. There will be learned discussions on whether I have breached party discipline.

Let me be helpful then. Setting aside for the moment the discussion of oil “royalty” payments let me be fully supportive of the Government’s initiative to dispense compassionate payments.

The public must be duly impressed that the Government is offering Kelantan money despite maintaining that Kelantan has no legal claim to its offshore oil. Clearly this money is being offered on the grounds of pity alone, and not on the basis of any rights the subjects of the state might imagine they have.

I applaud the Government’s compassion, and I call for the wang ihsan, or compassionate payments, to be made to Malaysians in all the states, not just Kelantan and Terengganu. I am sure the Federal Govt does not want to be seen to be playing favourites with the people of these two states, especially those of Kelantan, who voted against BN anyway.

Surely the people of the other states  are equally deserving of compassion. Out of concern for for all Malaysians, wang ihsan should also be paid out to Perlis, Kedah, Sabah, Sarawak, Melaka and all the other states. Perlis and Kedah, like Kelantan, are deficit financing states.  In these difficult times, people all over the country are in need of help and state coffers are empty. We can work out some kind of population and means adjusted formula for handing out this largesse.  The Federal Government would be seen to be caring, fair and mindful of the principle of federalism. It might even become more popular.

After this little matter is cleared up I trust those more excitable federal leaders will not be  confused when I return to the entirely separate subject of the states’ sovereign rights to their petroleum resources, and consequently the oil payments owed, with compound interest, to the two impoverished states from which they have been illegally withheld.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Member of Parliament
Gua Musang