State’s claim it didn’t re­ceive fed­eral funds not true, says min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - News - ADRIAN LAI AND MASRIWANIE MUHAMADING KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

THE DAP-led Pe­nang gov­ern­ment should can­cel its water re­struc­tur­ing deal with the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment if it con­tin­ues tak­ing credit for the state’s debt re­duc­tion.

Barisan Na­sional strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Datuk Seri Ab­dul Rah­man Dahlan said the debt re­duc­tion was due to ef­forts by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

“The 95 per cent Pe­nang debt re­duc­tion was made pos­si­ble by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in a water re­struc­tur­ing agree­ment in 2011, when the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment agreed to con­vert RM655.24 mil­lion of state debt to 45 an­nual lease pay­ments of RM14.56 mil­lion.

“In the same agree­ment, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment had also agreed to give a RM1.2 bil­lion grant to the state gov­ern­ment to ex­pand the Mengkuang Dam.”

He said a “big pro­por­tion” of the funds had been dis­bursed to the state gov­ern­ment.

Rah­man, who is also min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Depart­ment, said this meant that the state gov­ern­ment’s al­le­ga­tion that it did not re­ceive fi­nan­cial aid from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was un­true.

“The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment does not dis­crim­i­nate against op­po­si­tion-held states and has signed sim­i­lar water re­struc­tur­ing agree­ments.

“Se­lan­gor had also ben­e­fited from a RM9.7 bil­lion fi­nan­cial aid pack­age from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment signed in 2015, while Ke­lan­tan also re­ceived sim­i­lar fi­nan­cial aid in 2016.”

The Se­lan­gor gov­ern­ment is led by PKR, while Pas helms Ke­lan­tan.

On Mon­day, the Au­di­tor General’s Re­port 2016 Se­ries 1 re­vealed that Pe­nang and Se­lan­gor had the least ar­rears owed to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

The re­port said Se­lan­gor had RM14.67 mil­lion in ar­rears, while Pe­nang was debt-free.

Rah­man also ac­cused the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment of us­ing fed­eral aid to “mis­lead” the peo­ple.

He said de­spite that, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment would not jeop­ar­dise the water re­struc­tur­ing deals with the states.

“How­ever, if the DAP-led Pe­nang gov­ern­ment still wants to claim credit for the debt re­duc­tion or ac­cuse the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of not help­ing Pe­nang, it should ask the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to can­cel its 2011 water re­struc­tur­ing agree­ment so that it can be hon­est with it­self and with the peo­ple.”

He said the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment could then take back the RM655 mil­lion state debt and re­pay the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment the RM1.2 bil­lion grant.

“By do­ing this, the state debt will no longer be re­duced by 95 per cent.

“The debt will triple in­stead, but at least DAP and the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment can be hon­est with them­selves.

“Al­ter­na­tively, DAP should stop mak­ing such claims of state debt re­duc­tion and apol­o­gise to the peo­ple for re­peat­edly de­ceiv­ing them over the past six years.”

Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s

Depart­ment Datuk Seri Ab­dul Rah­man Dahlan says the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment does not dis­crim­i­nate

against op­po­si­tion-held


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