Blog­ger says CM’s an­swers con­firm state’s debt re­duced by Fed­eral Govt

New Straits Times - - News - AU­DREY DERMAWAN GE­ORGE TOWN news@nst.com.my

PE­NANG Chief Min­is­ter Lim Guan Eng yes­ter­day con­firmed that Pe­nang’s debt re­duc­tion is due to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, but called Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter ’s De­part­ment Datuk Seri Ab­dul Rah­man Dahlan “child­ish” for be­ing jeal­ous of the state’s suc­cess in hav­ing zero out­stand­ing debt pay­ment ar­rears.

In a tit-for-tat move, Lim said Rah­man was at­tempt­ing to claim credit that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was re­spon­si­ble for the re­duc­tion in Pe­nang’s debts.

On Tues­day, Rah­man told the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment to be hon­est and can­cel the wa­ter-re­struc­tur­ing deal with the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment if it wanted to claim credit for the state’s debt re­duc­tion.

Rah­man, who is also Barisan Na­sional strate­gic co­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, had said 95 per cent of the 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 in wa­ter debt to 45 an­nual lease pay­ments of RM14.56 mil­lion by the Pe­nang Wa­ter Sup­ply Cor­po­ra­tion (PBAPP).

He had also said that in the same agree­ment, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment had agreed to give a RM1.2 bil­lion grant to the state gov­ern­ment to ex­pand the Mengkuang Dam, and a “big pro­por­tion” of the funds had been dis­bursed to the state gov­ern­ment.

Blog­ger Lim Sian See said Lim’s an­swers to Rah­man “es­sen­tially con­firm beyond any doubt that the state debt was re­duced by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment”.

Sian See said un­like Pe­nang, other states did not boast about the debt re­duc­tion due to Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment wa­ter deals, cit­ing Perak as an ex­am­ple, which ac­tu­ally re­duced its state debt by 99 per cent.

“Also, I no­ticed that the chief min­is­ter was silent on the RM1.2 bil­lion grant.

“If the 2011 agree­ment is can­celled, then Pe­nang’s state debt would not be re­duced by 95 per cent, but it will triple as they have to take back the 95 per cent debt worth RM655 mil­lion as well as pay back RM1.2 bil­lion in grants given by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

“At the end of the day, the chief min­is­ter chick­ened out from the chal­lenge to can­cel the 2011 agree­ment and de­cided to give strange an­swers,” Sian See said on his Face­book page.

In re­sponse to Rah­man, Lim had said the state gov­ern­ment and PBAPP had no help from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, when all debt re­pay­ments were made on time, adding that Rah­man should not have be­haved child­ishly.

“Will the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment then can­cel all the wa­ter-re­struc­tur­ing deals for all states, re­turn wa­ter as­sets taken by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment back to the states, as well as push through a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment now ap­proved by the Fed­eral Par­lia­ment and all state as­sem­blies to undo the 2005 Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment and re­turn back the power of ‘wa­ter sup­plies and ser­vices’ back to the state list?”Lim said.

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