DAP: Is Liang questioning A-G’s approval of Penang accounts?

lim-guan-eng_Liang-Teck-Meng_penang_600

GEORGE TOWN: After being accused by Gerakan of using “special maths” to calculate Penang’s surpluses, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the numbers had been verified by the annual Auditor-General’s Reports every year.

Firing back at his Gerakan counterpart, Liang Teck Meng, the DAP secretary-general said there was no “special maths”, only “clean and honest accounting” that led to the numbers already acknowledged and certified by the A-G.

“Liang should be praising us for our success in still recording a surplus despite our spending increasing three times. It is clearly due to (Penang’s) CAT administration of competency, accountability and transparency.

“Or is Liang questioning the veracity of the Auditor-General’s Reports in his desperate attempt to frame the state government?” Lim, who is assemblyman for Air Puteh, said in a statement today.

Lim said the state contained costs through open competitive tenders which were able to get the best prices from contractors.

“We also saved more efficiently and practised clean leadership, where public funds are not stolen through corruption scandals like under the BN,” he added.

The Bagan MP said the state government’s revenue came from fees and quit rent based on land.

“It is shocking that BN leaders can be so ignorant as to ask whether assessment rates are included when that is collected throughout Malaysia by all local governments, including MBPP (Penang Island City Council) and MPSP (Seberang Prai Municipal Council).”

Lim, an accountant, also shared some “basic accounting principles” with Liang, whom he said was confused.

“Liang is confused between the accounts of the Penang government, (state investment arm) Penang Development Corporation (PDC), and MBPP and MPSP.

“These are different and separate accounts and cannot be mixed up together as one. Liang mixes them up to try and claim that the state government sold more land than the RM658 million recorded since 2008.

“Liang cannot include PDC’s asset sales as part of the state government’s revenue because the assets belong to the investment company,” he said.

He also called Liang’s allegations over Penang’s surplus record as “childish and irresponsible”.

In answer to Liang’s question on why only RM658 million was recorded from 2008 to 2015 for the Bayan Mutiara land sale and reclamation rights when the price was RM1.07 billion, Lim said it was due to the payment schedule for the land.

“I had explained many times that full payment was not paid in 2011 but paid progressively over a period of six years. The last payment is due on Nov 10 this year,” he said, adding that Liang did not understand the difference between cash and the accrual system of accounting.

Yesterday, Liang had also questioned how Penang could make RM574 million in surpluses since 2008 when the state’s annual operating expenditure jumped almost three-fold from RM283 million in 2008 to RM826 million in 2015.

Among others, he questioned if Lim had used “special maths” in arriving at that surplus amount when the latter said it had excluded revenue from land sales.

Liang also questioned the revenue cited by Lim from the land sales, making references to old reports on land sale revenues collected by the state, PDC and the councils.