Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has taken on queries about the state’s budget surpluses raised by Gerakan leader Liang Teck Meng, saying Liang knows little about accounting.
Lim went on to school the Gerakan secretary-general on how the state has recorded its surpluses since 2008.
“No wonder Malaysia’s economy is in a state of crisis if we are led by dummies pretending to know accounting,” Lim said, in a statement today.
Lim said he had wanted to ignore Ling, the Simpang Renggam MP, for his “childish and irresponsible” statements questioning Penang’s annual budget surpluses, which totalled RM574 million since 2008.
“However I feel duty-bound to expose Liang’s wild lies and school him to the truth of the state government’s factual figures.
“These figures were fully supported by the certification of the auditor-general’s annual reports. Hopefully, Liang can be schooled to understand some basic accounting principles,” Lim (photo) said.
Liang was confused over the accounts of the Penang government, state agency Penang Development Corporationv(PDC), local authorities Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang and Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai, he added.
According to Lim, these are different and separate accounts and cannot be mixed up together as one.
Liang 'mixed up' different accounts
He said Liang mixed them up to try to claim that the state government sold more land than the RM658 million sum recorded since 2008.
“Mixing them up is wrong and the auditor-general separates them just as the federal government accounts are separated from Tenaga National Bhd, Perbadanan National Bhd or Tabung Haji,” Lim noted.
Liang cannot blindly include the sale of assets belonging to PDC as part of the state government’s revenue, Lim said.
“Doing so is wrong when the assets do not belong to the state government, unless Liang wants to invent a new system of accounting understood only by him,” Lim added.
Liang had claimed that the state government sold the Bayan Mutiara state land and land reclamation rights in 2011 for RM1.07 billion.
He questioned why only RM658 million was recorded for the period between 2008-2015.
On this, Lim said: “I have explained many times that full payment was not paid in 2011 but paid progressively over a period of six years. The final payment will only be made by Nov 10 this year. Clearly, Liang does not understand the difference between cash and accrual system of accounting.”
Liang had also questioned how the state government could still record a surplus when its annual operating spending now has jumped three-fold from RM283 million in 2008.
Lim said Liang should be praising the Penang government for its success in still recording a surplus despite its spending increasing by three times due clearly to its “CAT administration”.
CAT is the Penang government’s motto of competency, accountability and transparency, which was adopted since Lim took over as chief minister in 2008.
“Cost containment is achieved through an open competitive tender that gives us the best pricing, efficiency savings and clean leadership, where public money is not stolen through corruption scandals, like BN.
“There are no RM52 billion 1MDB or US$1 billion donation scandals in Penang,” Lim said, taking a shot at Prime Minister Najib Razak for his alleged involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
On Jan 2, Lim explained that Penang would have recorded RM1.074 million in accumulated surplus since 2008 if RM500 million had not been allocated for the Public Affordable Housing Fund.
The RM500 million was taken out of the RM658 million in land sales by the state government, Lim added.
Annual surplus not from land sales
He insisted that this clearly showed that land sales was not the reason for the annual surplus of the Penang government, which amounted to RM574 million since 2008.
Lim said Penang government’s revenue came from fees and quit rent based on land.
In a Facebook posting yesterday, Liang said the BN state government sold 36 times more land (3,661 acres) than the present state government(106.1 acres) but yet received less money - RM1,058 million compared with RM1,110 million which was obtained by the Pakatan administration.
Liang explained that this was because the BN government then was selling both land and land reclamation rights whereas Pakatan was only selling land.
Lim said this was not true as the Bayan Mutiara land sold by the present state government involved both land and land reclamation rights.
Land reclamation rights at Bayan Mutiara were sold at RM240 per square feet by the present state government through open competitive tender, he noted.
This was in contrast to the Tanjung Pinang land reclamation rights sold by BN at only RM 1 psf because there was no open competitive tender, Lim recalled.
Since 2008, Penang has recorded accumulated budget surpluses of RM574 million over the last eight years, Lim said, which is more than what BN achieved over the last 50 years - RM373 million - when it ruled Penang from 1957 to 2007.
“There is no special maths employed by the present state government, as claimed by Liang, as all these figures are verified, acknowledged and certified in the annual Auditor-General’s Reports.
“There is only clean and honest accounting,” Lim said.
“The public can judge who can be trusted to save the Malaysian economy and prevent our children’s future from being stolen,” he added.- Mkini