“It was certainly not due to any ‘good governance’ or CAT since the Penang government’s yearly operational expenses have now steadily grown over the years to become 500 per cent higher of what it was in the year 2008″
GEORGE TOWN: A staggering RM37 billion worth of state assets are being sold or traded away by the Penang government since it assumed power in 2008, Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications (BNSC) revealed today.
BNSC director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said these included state land, state land rights and state assets, which Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng denied had contributed to the state’s budget surpluses.
“The BNSC team has a list of such assets amounting to RM37 billion being sold or traded away by the Penang government since the year 2008.
“If Lim agrees, I can get the BNSC team to show the list for him to confirm, deny or correct. What say you, Lim?” Rahman said in a media statement.
Both Rahman and Lim have been at loggerheads after the latter had claimed credit over success in reducing the state’s debt, although it was done through efforts by the federal government through a federal-state water restructuring agreement.
While Lim had previously admitted that the 95 per cent reduction in Penang’s debt was due to federal assistance, the DAP secretary-general continued to fire broadsides at Rahman.
Last week, Rahman had challenged the Penang government to scrap the water restructuring deal if it still pursued to claim credit over the debt reduction.
Yesterday, he expounded the reason why the Penang government would want to hold on to the deal.
“Penang’s debt was at RM687.8 million in 2010. Due to the 2011 water restructuring agreement, the Federal government then took over RM655.24 million of those debt which resulted in a balance of just RM32.55mil — a 95 per cent reduction.
“However, Lim did not take into account that as part of the 2011 water restructuring agreement, the Federal government also gave Penang a RM1.2 billion grant to expand the Mengkuang Dam.
“Should the 2011 water restr ucturing agreement be cancelled, then Penang’s debt will revert back to RM687.8 million while Penang would have to pay back the RM1.2 billion grant. This would mean that the total state debt would now be RM1,887.8 billion — or close to three times of what the RM687.8 million state debt was.”
The federal minister also touched on DAP’s said failure to adhere to its own policy of competency, accountability and transparency (CAT) since the 500 per cent increase in present operational expenses compared to 2008.
“It was certainly not due to any ‘good governance’ or CAT since the Penang government’s yearly operational expenses have now steadily grown over the years to become 500 per cent higher of what it was in the year 2008.
“However, Lim disputes my statement that without the 2011 water restructuring assistance from the Federal government, Penang’s debt would have tripled instead of being reduced 95 per cent. This is why he is saying I should study accounting.”
“Nevertheless, I also thank Lim for confirming that the Federal government had also given RM1.2 billion grants to the Penang government, which also proves another propaganda of DAP is false — that the Federal government does not help Penang.”
Source: NST Online