The following article is submitted to the Editorial of Malaysia Gazette by reader, Fateh Aiman.
When the Pakatan Harapan coalition campaigned for GE14, they promised for a devolution of federal power and allow the states and local government to once again determine how they should move forward for the sake of their own citizens. Once in power however, Pakatan Harapan has all but forgotten their promises towards respecting the relationships between states and federal.
The latest point of contention is how Youth Minister Syed Saddiq and the Pakatan Harapan government has attempted to bypass the jurisdiction of state rights by forcing their amendment towards the Youth Societies and Youth Development onto all youth organizations in Malaysia.
Earlier this week, as the amendment was passed in Parliament – the states of Selangor, Johor and Sarawak announced that they would keep their definition to the current 15-40 instead of 15-30. A day later, Johor Youth and Sports Exco Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali announced that thestate will toe the federal line and set its youth definition to 15-30. Having said that, as we see today, this decision was overturned and the age for youth in Johor was once again set to 15-40.
For a casual observer, this U-turn is a simple miscommunication on part of the Johor government. However, this statement by Salahuddin Ayub, Deputy President of Parti Amanah Negara, reveals that the truth behind this ‘u-turn’ is a much more complicated one.
Speaking to media after this week’s Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council meeting, he told reporters that Syed Saddiq had brought up the misgivings by the Johor government regarding the youth issue and that:
“The issue where the (state) Menteri Besar Dr Sahruddin Jamal was not on the same page with the federal government was raised by Syed Saddiq.”
In fact, the Presidential Council had summoned the Johor MB and his excos and had pressured them into giving into the demands of the Youth Ministry – ignoring the many consequences that this drastic change would have not only on the development of youth and sports in Johor, but in Malaysia as a whole.
It is as if just because PPBM is the state government in Johor – then its members in Federal can simply overrule the interests of the state in favour of its agenda.
Unsurprisingly, the only u-turn here is here was on part of Syed Saddiq, who proposed in May that the threshold should be at a more practical 35 instead.
If the concerns of the elected Johor government can be brushed away in a party coalition meeting just like that, what more the problems of other states.
Unfortunately, we do not have to look back far to see how little the federal government respects the needs of the states of Malaysia. For the people of Sabah and Sarawak, the irresponsible manner that they treated the MA63 amendment is fresh evidence towards that.
Many Johoreans in Pasir Gudang are still suffering from the inaction and negligence by Pakatan Harapan during the Sungai Kim Kim crisis in March 2019.
Malaysians everywhere are still suffering under a weak economy as the rise in cost-of-living and a lack of jobs continues to burden them. What about the 400,000 Johoreans that spend hours every day to make a living in Singapore?
Saya dedikasikan video ini kepada 400,000 Bangsa Johor yang bekerja di Singapura. Keluar rumah 5pagi dan hanya balik rumah pukul 10malam.
My family is one of them. This is for you.
Tolong “tag” & RT kepada rakan-rakan yang melalui nasib yang sama. [Part 1] pic.twitter.com/axIjBUXTex
— Syed Saddiq (@SyedSaddiq) April 13, 2018
Malaysia is a federation – where all states have jurisdiction over their own matters as agreed upon in the Federal Constitution. It is good then that Johor does not walk alone, this spirit is being respected by the states of Pahang, Johor, Perlis, Sarawak, Selangor and Kelantan as they retain their youth age limit at 40.
This a clear sign for Pakatan Harapan–as they said in the early days of its administration, the age of government knows best is over. Let’s see if they can finally walk the talk.
Editorial note: The views expressed are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysia Gazette.