Kedah menteri besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, known for his run-ins with the Penang state government, has done it again – he is now demanding RM100 million a year as “lease payment” for Penang island and Seberang Perai.
Sanusi said he wanted the honorarium the federal government has been paying on Penang’s behalf to be raised by RM90 million.
The honorarium had been set at RM10,000 for decades but was raised to RM10 million a year by the federal government from 2018.
“This is a small amount for the federal government, I believe. And Penang has high revenue,” he told reporters at Wisma Darul Aman today.
During the colonial period, Penang island, and eventually Seberang Perai was leased by the Kedah sultanate to the British in 1791 for 10,000 Spanish dollars.
As a symbolic gesture, the federal government has paid Kedah RM10,000 annually. Previously, the Penang government said the sultanate effectively ceded the island and the land on the peninsula after Merdeka.
Sanusi said Putrajaya’s decision to increase the honorarium from RM10,000 to RM10 million in 2018 was thanks to the Sultan of Kedah, who had brought the issue up at the conference of rulers.
On Budget 2022, he said Kedah hopes to receive grants of about RM100 million to keep 107,000ha of water catchment areas intact.
Sanusi said Kedah has also asked for RM177 million in incentives to keep padi fields from being gazetted as commercial zones.
He said the state stands to earn RM1.7 billion in land-related taxes if the entire 222 hectares of padi fields was converted for commercial land use.
He also requested RM500 million to restore the completely eroded beaches of Pantai Merdeka and Tanjung Dawai. He also wanted another RM400 million for the Takungan Air Pinggiran Sungai (TAPS) project to ensure adequate water supply.
Meanwhile, Sanusi said Malay and Islamic politics were being eroded as more parties appear to be bickering instead of staying united.
The PAS election director said the survival of Malay politics in the country depends on the unity of the ummah.
“We must ensure that Malay and Islamic parties stay in power. This is the basic thing we need to do before the Melaka polls and the general election. Let us have straight fights, not three-cornered fights in the election,” he said when asked about Umno’s refusal to work with Perikatan Nasional in the Melaka polls.
Sanusi also hoped PAS would be able to contest five state seats in the coming Melaka polls. – FMT