Abdul Rahman Dahlan Is So Desperately Jealous Of Penang State Government’s Remarkable Success In Being The Only State In Malaysia To Have Zero Outstanding Debt Payment Arrears That He Attempts To Claim Credit That The Federal Government Is Responsible For The Reduction In Penang State Debts.
Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan is unfit to be a Minister in the Prime Minister Department not only because he previously chickened out of his own challenge to debate with me, but now has shown to be so desperately jealous of the Penang state government’s sterling financial performance. Abdul Rahman Dahlan is so desperately jealous of Penang state government’s remarkable success in being the only state in Malaysia to have zero outstanding debt payment arrears that he attempts to claim credit that the Federal government is responsible for the reduction in state debts.
Is Abdul Rahman green with envy because Penang’s success in debt reduction and zero debt payment arrears could not be emulated by the Federal government, which instead saw an astonishing increase of RM 147 billion in 5 years from RM 501.6 billion in 2012 to RM 648.5 billion in 2016? This Federal government debt would have exceeded RM800 billion if contingent liabilities in the form of Federal government guarantees and support letters were included.
In contrast over the same period, Penang reduced its state debts by 90% to RM65 million by end 2016, the lowest amongst all states in the country. Pahang state debts is the highest at RM3 billion, followed by Sabah and Sarawak RM2.6 billion, Kedah RM2.3 billion and Kelantan RM1.4 billion rounding of the top 5 most heavily indebted states in Malaysia.
So envious is Abdul Rahman of Penang, that he asked the Penang state government to cancel the water restructuring deal that we signed in 2011. Abdul Rahman claimed that the debt reduction was made possible only by the Federal government converting the RM655.24 million of water debts to 45 annual lease payments of RM14.56 million by Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang(PBAPP).
Abdul Rahman Dahlan forgets 5 important points that he deliberately left out and did not mention. One, the water debts were incurred by the previous BN state government and it is only fair to return those water debts to the BN Federal government. Two, the debts taken over by the Federal government was not for free, but in exchange for water assets surrendered by PBAPP, and now owned by the Federal government.
Three, the water restructuring deal, taking over of water debts and surrender of assets was not peculiar to Penang but also applied to all other states. Four, this water restructuring deal involved a surrender of state rights by the BN state governments before 2008. In 2005 there was an amendment to the Federal Constitution that put “water supplies and services” from the State list to the Concurrent List in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
Five, most importantly to Abdul Rahman Dahlan is that the Penang state government is the only state that did not have any outstanding debt payment arrears at end 2016. This is a stark contrast from Pahang and Kedah which had the highest arrears of RM1.087 billion and RM1.028 billion, respectively. Further, PBAPP had also paid on time and in full all the annual lease payments.
Penang state government and PBAPP had no help from the Federal government when all debt repayments were made on time, clearly proving that unlike other states we had the money to do so because we were well-managed with record annual surpluses since 2008.
Abdul Rahman Dahlan should not behave childishly and throw a tantrum out of sheer political jealousy, to ask us to cancel the water restructuring deal unless he is willing to guarantee the Federal government walks back on the 5 points mentioned above.
Will the Federal government then cancel all the water restructuring deals for all states; return the water assets taken by the Federal government back to the states; as well as push through a constitutional amendment now approved by the Federal Parliament and all state Assemblies to undo the 2005 Federal Constitutional amendment and return back the power of “water supplies and services” back to the State List?
LIM GUAN ENG