Gerakan today insisted that Penang was able to enjoy lowest debt compared to other states was due to federal government's takeover of RM655.24 million debts during a water restructuring agreement in 2011. (Pix by DANIAL SAAD)

GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan today insisted that Penang was able to enjoy lowest debt compared to other states was due to federal government's takeover of RM655.24 million debts during a water restructuring agreement in 2011.

State Gerakan treasurer Ng Fook On said the achievement had nothing to do with the state government’s good financial management.

He claimed the current administration, particularly Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, had been repeatedly misleading the people and boasting that the state’s debts had been reduced by 90 per cent since they took over the state in 2008.

“Now, he said that the state’s debts is only RM64 million, which is the lowest among all other state governments due to their good governance and financial management.

“I want to remind the chief minister, and at the same time, let the people know the reason the state’s debts went down drastically. It was due to the takeover of RM655.24 million debts after a restructuring in 2011 by the federal government through the Water Services Industry Act 2006, and not because of good financial management.

“If without the federal government’s help, Penang’s debts, at the end of 2016, would have increased to RM721.57 million,” he told newsmen at the state Gerakan headquarters here today.

Ng said, according to a Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) presentation in 2012, it was clearly stated that Penang’s migration to the National Water Services Restructuring Initiative (NWSRI) resulted in an immediate reduction of the state’s debts of RM655.24 million. This amount, owing to the federal government, would be repaid over 45 years without interest.

“There is still a long-term liability of RM655.24 million to be repaid over 45 years to the federal government.

“I wish to remind the state government and Lim not to keep misleading the people that their financial management is excellent, and that the outstanding loans have reduced drastically compared to when Barisan Nasional ruled the state,” he added, noting that in 2008, the previous administration had left behind RM496.51 million debts.

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