JOHOR BARU, June 17 — Johor Opposition leader Liew Chin Tong today proposed a review of the power-sharing agreements between states and the federal government.
He said his suggestion aims to improve and smoothen the way resources are managed nationally while respecting the rights of each member state of the federation that is Malaysia.
“It’s time for a new deal between the federal and state governments. Johor deserves better. Malaysians deserve better,” he said in a statement today.
The Perling assemblyman said he will suggest the formation of a bipartisan select committee to look into state-federal ties when the Johor legislative assembly resumes this Sunday, as the first of three ways to improve federalism.
Johor's official government work days are from Sunday to Thursday with Friday and Saturday observed as the weekend.
Liew said such a committee can enhance both formal and informal cooperation among the states as well as to coordinate federal-state issues.
“On behalf of the Johor Opposition, I have written to Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi on May 19 to propose the formation of a bipartisan state assembly select committee on rejuvenating federalism and empowering the states.
“I will speak at the Johor State Assembly this Sunday to echo the call by His Majesty the Sultan of Johor to renegotiate power-sharing and resource-sharing arrangements between the federal and state governments in the federation,” he added.
Liew's comments come a day after Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar told Putrajaya to respect the state-federal accords that established the Malaysian federation.
In his speech at the opening of the state assembly here yesterday, Sultan Ibrahim criticised the federal government for the lack of development funds and suggested Johor might do better if it left the federation.
Liew who is from DAP also listed the other two approaches to improve federalism, adding that he will elaborate on them at the Johor assembly.
He said one is to immediately set up a federal-state relations commission to study a new deal in power-sharing and resource-sharing over the next 50 years, and have it present a report on its recommendations by the end of this year.
He also plans to propose that the Johor mentri besar initiate a collaborative committee with other state leaders and set the agenda for the new federal-state deal.
“This will be a ‘coalition of the willing’. There is no need to wait until all states agree to join,” he said.