GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has refuted claims by Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications (BNSC) director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan that his administration had sold or traded away RM37 billion worth of state assets since 2008.
Speaking to newsmen at his office today, Lim said he did not know where Rahman got the figure from.
"If we sold RM37 billion worth of state assets, this means that we must have RM37 billion in our accounts. We don't have RM37 billion in our accounts.
"So, I don't know where he got the figure from. That is why I say he has problems with his accounting," he said.
Yesterday, Rahman revealed that a staggering RM37 billion worth of state assets were sold or traded away by Penang government since it assumed power in 2008.
He had said that these included state land, state land rights and state assets, which Lim denied had contributed to the state's budget surpluses.
Rahman had also said that the BNSC team had a list of such assets amounting to RM37 billion, and if Lim agreed, would show the list to him to either confirm, deny or correct.
Lim also slammed Rahman over claims that if the Penang government cancelled the 2011 water restructuring agreement, the state's debt would revert back to RM687 million, and it would have to pay back the RM1.2 billion grant for the expansion of the Mengkuang Dam.
"I say no such thing...I want to say that Rahman got his facts wrong again. As a Federal minister, does he not know that when the federal government gives out grant, it does not give to the state government but to the relevant ministry? In this case, it is the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry.
"The state government does not get a single sen. So, how are we supposed to pay back for a loan we have never taken?
"You give RM1.2 billion to the ministry and not the state government. If you want to take back, take back from the ministry and not the state government. So, there is no debt involved for the RM1.2 billion grant given to expand the Mengkuang Dam," he added.
Lim and Rahman had been at loggerheads after the latter had claimed credit over success in reducing the state's debt, although it was done through efforts by the Federal government, through a Federal-state water restructuring agreement.
While Lim had admitted that the 95 per cent reduction in Penang's debt was due to Federal assistance, he continued to lambast Rahman.
At the same conference, Lim reiterated that when the Penang goverment signed the water restructuring agreement to migrate assets to the Federal government, one of the deal was to expand the Mengkuang Dam.