‘FEDERAL GOVT HELPED EASE PENANG DEBTS’
State’s claim it didn’t receive federal funds not true, says minister
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