‘Huge al­lo­ca­tion hike is for Se­berang Perai projects’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS - BY AARON NGUI

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.

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