MIN­IS­TER in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Depart­ment Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan ac­knowl­edges the con­cerns raised by Sul­tan Ibrahim Sul­tan Iskan­dar about the Wood­lands-Bukit Cha­gar Rapid Tran­sit Sys­tem proje t. Rahman says ex­ten­sive stud­ies had been car­ried out

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

GE­ORGE TOWN: A stag­ger­ing RM37 bil­lion worth of state as­sets were sold or traded away by the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment since it as­sumed power in 2008, Barisan Na­sional Strate­gic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions (BNSC) team re­vealed yes­ter­day.

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 2008.

“If Lim agrees, I can get the BNSC team to show him the list for him to con­firm, deny or cor­rect. What say you, Lim?”

Rahman and Lim have been at log­ger­heads with one an­other af­ter the lat­ter had claimed credit for the suc­cess in re­duc­ing the state’s debt, although it was done through ef­forts by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment through a fed­er­al­state wa­ter re­struc­tur­ing agree­ment.

While Lim had said 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 con­tin­ued to claim credit for 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 took over RM655.24 mil­lion of the debt, which re­sulted in a balance of only 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 re­struc­tur­ing agree­ment be can­celled, Pe­nang’s debt will re­vert back to RM687.8 mil­lion, and it would have to pay back the RM1.2 bil­lion grant.

“This would mean that the to­tal state debt would be RM1,887.8 bil­lion, or close to three times of what the RM687.8 mil­lion state debt was.”

Rahman said DAP al­legedly failed to ad­here to its pol­icy of com­pe­tency, ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency (CAT) due to the 500 per cent in­crease in its cur­rent op­er­a­tional ex­penses com­pared with 2008.

“It was cer­tainly not due to any ‘good gov­er­nance’ or CAT since the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment’s yearly op­er­a­tional ex­penses have steadily grown over the years to be­come 500 per cent higher than what it was in 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 says I should study ac­count­ing.

“Nev­er­the­less, I thank Lim for con­firm­ing that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment had given a RM1.2 bil­lion grant to the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment, which proves an­other pro­pa­ganda of DAP is false — that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment does not help Pe­nang.”

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