Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is shamelessly taking credit for reduction of the state’s debt from some RM600 million in 2008 to current RM70mil, said Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
The truth is, he said it was the federal government that helped to reduce Penang’s debt.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said Chief Minister Guan Eng had been boasting that it was his administration’s efforts for the reduction of the state debt when he was not responsible for it.
He said Guan Eng had been boasting around as though he was a great and good leader for reducing the state government’s debt when in actual fact it was due to efforts by the former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration.
“We should be aware that it was not him (Guan Eng) who settled the state debts, instead it was an act of non-discriminatory assistance by the federal government during Pak Lah’s tenure,” said Rahman after officiating UMNO Permatang Pauh division meeting in Penang today.
The minister said Guan Eng was not fit to be the Chief Minister as he was keen of claiming credits for “things he did not do”.
Under the water restructuring exercise, RM655.2 mil worth of Penang’s water-related core assets of the Penang Water Supply Board (PBAPP) were transferred to the federal government managed Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB).
This means that all Penang debts had been transferred to the federal government, hence a 95% slash of state debts, thanks to the Putrajaya administration.
PBAPP will have to pay PAAB an annual lease rental of RM14.56 mil over 45 years for those assets, which would work out to some RM655 mil.
Upon expiry of the lease, the state land will automatically go back to the state.
In effect, this means the state government or PBAPP won’t have to pay interest on its current outstanding loan while the debt burden will now be repaid by PBAPP through annual lease charges over a longer period.
The lease rentals will be tax deductible.
Under restructuring agreement, the Penang government was granted an allocation of RM1.2 billion for the expansion of Mengkuang Dam in Bukit Mertajam, mainland Seberang Perai mainland.
Rahman also slammed DAP’s failure in governing Penang in the right way as it could not keep up to the Barisan Nasional’s level of standards and governance.
He cited issues pertaining to land sales and lop-sided development as good examples of DAP’s poor governance.
“They criticise the federal government but their own internal matters such as land and developers issues and traffic-flow troubles is yet to be solved.
“The DAP had administrated the state for almost 10 years but they have yet to solve the people’s problem.
“In fact they are selling more of people’s lands to outsiders and developers,” said Rahman, adding that the state government also did not build low-cost houses for the poor in Penang.