Lim: MCA desperate to tarnish Penang
Chief Minister rebukes Dr Chua Soi Lek and his party for discrediting his success in reducing the state's debts by 95%.GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the MCA and its president Dr Chua Soi Lek are desperate to tarnish his good and clean governance of the state.
Lim was irked by Chua and MCA disputing his government’s success in reducing the state debts by 95% within four years.
He accused Chua and MCA of discrediting the certification given in the Auditor-General’s Annual Report that his Pakatan government had reduced state debts from RM630 million in March 2008 to RM30 million in December 2011.
Lim said his government’s success was in stark contrast to the 89% increase in the federal government’s debts, from RM266 billion in 2007 to RM502.4 billion in 2011.
“This works out to RM18,000 each to the 28 million Malaysians,” Lim said in a press statement.
He attributed his success in reducing state debts to securing an acceptable water restructuring agreement with the federal government.
However, he said despite his explanation, Chua had again raised the same issue during their public debate on July 8.
“I had replied that the Penang Pakatan had driven a hard bargain to protect the state’s interests, a fact that the previous BN state government could not achieve,” said Lim.
Lim, who is also the DAP secretary general insisted that the federal government did not take over the water loans for free because the state government had to give up its water assets.
He said the 95% reduction in state debts was the highest record in the country, claiming that no other state that had entered into a similar deal matched Penang’s success.
He said his government’s debt reduction and annual budget surpluses were evidence of a prudent and competent financial management.
“If MCA does not agree, then is MCA suggesting that Penang should follow the federal government’s increasingly higher debt burden?” asked Lim, in jest.
The Bagan MP also said the federal government debt would be higher if contingent liabilities or loans guaranteed by Putrajaya to third parties including the private sector were included.
Lim said that the clearest example involved the comfort or guarantee letters issued by the transport minister relating to RM13 billion Port Klang Free Trade Zone scandal.
The finance minister had stated in Parliament on March 28 that contingent liabilities in 2011 amounted to RM117 billion.
In other words, he said Malaysia’s debts would exceed RM620 billion if contingent liabilities were included.
“Fortunately Penang has no contingent liabilities because the state government does not guarantee any loans,” said Lim.