Rahman reminds Penang federal govt helped reduce its debt


PETALING JAYA: Minister Rahman Dahlan has told the DAP-led Penang government to correct its “spin” that the state reduced its debt by 95% through its own efforts as it was Putrajaya’s role in the water restructuring agreement that was instrumental in helping them achieve it.

He said that if Penang wished to continue taking sole credit for its financial standing today, they should cancel the water restructuring agreement signed with Putrajaya in 2011, as well as repay the RM1.2 billion grant given to them by the federal government to expand the Mengkuang dam.

“Although by doing this, the Penang state debt will no longer be reduced by 95% and be the lowest in the country but will triple instead,” he said.

Rahman, who is also Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications (BNSC) director said the state should make the move since it was also accusing the federal government of not assisting Penang.

“DAP is a master of propaganda and spin. They will not hesitate to repeat such untruths numerous times to mislead voters,” he said in a statement today.

He said in the water restructuring deal, Putrajaya agreed to convert RM655.24 million in existing state debts to 45 annual lease payments of RM14.56 million each.

Rahman said the federal government had signed similar water restructuring agreements with others.

“Selangor also benefited from a RM9.7 billion financial assistance package from the federal government signed in the year 2015 while Kelantan also received similar financial assistance in 2016,” he said.

“While other states are silent on this, it is only Penang who continually misuses the good intention and assistance of the federal government to claim credit and mislead the public,” he said.

It was reported yesterday that according to the 2016 Auditor-General’s Report, Penang and Selangor were the only two states with the least arrears owed to the federal government. The news was actively shared by PH members on social media.

Selangor had only RM14.67 million in arrears, while Penang did not owe the federal government anything.