‘Huge allocation hike is for Seberang Perai projects’
GEORGE TOWN: The huge increase in the allocation to the Chief Minister’s Office and State Secretary in Penang Budget 2017 is largely due to a RM609 million loan to the Penang Development Corporation (PDC), said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
The money is to be used by the state development agency for land acquisition and development of Seberang Perai, he added.
He said his administration viewed the Penang mainland as the next engine of growth for the state and wanted to focus on development there.
This showed the budget was a “balanced” budget as the island and the mainland were given attention, he added.
“Seberang Perai is the next engine of growth, that is why PDC is acquiring land and conducting development there,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Questions were asked after the Budget was announced on Tuesday showing RM707,611,840 was allocated in 2017 to the Chief Minister’s Office and State Secretary compared to the RM161,588,160 allocated in 2016.
Lim also denied reports that only some RM8 million was allocated to Islamic affairs in the state for next year.
He said RM49.37 million was in fact allocated with the biggest sum of RM9,050,020 going to development projects under the Islamic Religious Affairs Department and State Mosque.
Lim also refuted reports the state lost ownership of Pulau Jerejak after PDC sold its 49% stake in Tropical Island Resort Sdn Bhd (TIRSB) to Q Islands Development Sdn Bhd (QID) for RM156 million this year.
TIRSB in 2001 was awarded 80 acre (32ha) of land in the island for 60 years for RM12.95 million.
Lim pointed out his administration has not approved any additional land in Pulau Jerejak for development.
“After the 80 acres and the Boustead shipyard has been clearly demarcated, the remaining land in the 895 acre island shall be gazetted as a state park,” he said.