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putera said this referring to my post on state powers: “amateurish retort! yea blame all on BN…all yer explanation is blaming BN for the lack of development by PR…damn lame dude..try harder…”

Take out the Constitution of Malaysia then. Heck, I’ll do it for you. Go to the Ninth Schedule. Compare and contrasts the Federal List and the State List. The Concurrent list is practically a federal list anyway (states can legislate in those areas, unlike the Federal List, but federal laws still supersede state laws – which in today’s Malaysia, makes it practically the federal list).

Go to the tenth schedule – see how limited is the ability of states to raise revenues – except for local council taxes, states depend on the federal government for its dole. And it is extremely limited unless the federal government feel some largesse towards the state (e.g. pre-PAS Terengganu and oil royalties). And as for local governments, check out Article 76 (particularly section 4) as well as

Essentially, Malaysia is more centralized than many other unitary states like Indonesia. There is a significant merit to decentralizing those powers to the state level (I would, for one, make almost all of the Concurrent List part of the State List, and move some of the Federal List to the Concurrent List). Power ought to be closer to the people. And more than that, a proper federal system with devolved, autonomous states can act as a check and balance to the federal government. If Selangor, Penang, Perak, Kedah and Kelantan had as much powers as, say, Australian states, it would be fairer to demand better of such governments. More than that, it would provide a critical testbed for parties seeking to govern the federation.

I’m not making excuses for Pakatan. I’m just realistic. If we had such expectations of any party to make such changes at state-level, we may as well give up and don’t bother to vote for state elections. Nobody can independently institute things like local elections at the state level.

P.S. Sabah and Sarawak have far more autonomy, particularly in local governments. But still, they are extremely limited on the count of economic policies.


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