KUANTAN: Former Pahang menteri besar Adnan Yaakob today said the RM3 billion owed by the state government to the federal government was not due to operating inefficiency or extravagant spending.
Instead, he said, the debts accumulated as the state government had limited revenue.
Adnan, who served as Pahang menteri besar for 19 years since 1999, admitted that he felt aggrieved and sad with critics who did not understand that a huge amount was spent on the welfare of the people.
“The amount of the debts increased when the state government replaced water pipes and built low-cost houses, more so when the people do not repay their housing loans.
“Pahang has 14,000-km long pipelines, almost the same distance from Kuantan to London, and we also have to take over 82 pump houses in Felda areas.
“So, I hope everyone can understand the reason why the amount of our debts is high, it is not because of extravagant spending,” he said when interjecting Speaker Ishak Muhammad’s speech during the first sitting of the 14th Pahang state assembly at Wisma Sri Pahang here today.
Adnan, who is Pelangai assemblyman, said he had to use the state assembly as a platform to clarify the issue because he had done his best to discharge his duties when he was the menteri besar.
Thus, he hoped the explanation would help all quarters to understand the rationale behind the numbers.
“For instance, for every RM1 paid by the consumer for water tariff, the government subsidised 50 cents.
“Tariff increase of 100% does not change anything. If we want profit we have to increase the water tariff by 300%.
“However, we don’t do that because we are more concerned with the people’s welfare,” he said.
Adnan said he felt quite upset when told that the organising cost for the 15th Malaysia Games (Sukma) in 2012 had to be borne by the state government, as well as the RM40 million debt from the flood, as informed by former Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.
“Flood is a natural disaster. That is why our debt is high.
“We have discussed this with former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who agreed to write off 60% of it, but it did not materialise as he was fired,” Adnan said.
Meanwhile, Ishak in his speech thanked Adnan for his contributions and views since he became the member of the state legislative assembly in 1986.
He said Adnan had given excellent services as Pahang’s longest-serving menteri besar and led Pahang to a better direction, including in the issue of people welfare, empowering the economy and education.
“His services will be remembered and I hope the Pelangai assemblyman will continue to provide good ideas for the Pahang state government,” he said.