LGE says BN govt sold 1,481ha of state land in Penang, PH only 43

KUALA LUMPUR: The Najib Razak-Lim Guan Eng war of words escalated further today with the latter saying Najib has become personal in his attacks as he does not have facts to back up his claims.

In a statement today, the DAP secretary-general said the former prime minister had claimed that Penang’s financial performance over the last 10 years of annual budget surpluses, reduction in state debts by 90% and increase in asset reserves by 140% was due to land sales in Penang for profit.

“The Pakatan Penang government sold only 43 hectares or 34 times less than the 1,481 hectares of land sold by the previous BN (Barisan Nasional) government,” the former Penang chief minister said.

“Despite Pakatan selling off less land, it still received more money than BN because land was sold by open tender instead of direct negotiations as by BN. The revenue from land sales by the Pakatan government was used for affordable housing, leaving a remaining sum amounting to only 10.4% for state expenditure. So, it is not true that state government revenue and surpluses came solely from land sales.”

Lim, who is finance minister, said Najib had falsely claimed he had stated that the sales and services tax would result in a price reduction of goods. Najib, he added, was unable to show any proof of this.

“There is a note of quiet desperation in Najib’s statements when he no longer relies on facts and figures but has started making personal attacks against me.”

On the federal government’s debts, Lim reiterated that it had crossed RM1 trillion “due to the excesses, abuse of power and cover-up of the actual costs of the RM50 billion 1MDB and other related financial scandals big and small, such as the RM9.4 billion pipeline scandal where 88% or RM8.3 billion was paid despite only 13% of work completion or the RM31.5 billion MRT3 project which was reduced by RM15 billion to a revised cost of RM16.5 billion.

“Najib cannot deny the cost escalation of mega projects such as East Coast Rail Link to RM81 billion, the financial scandals in Felda or the unnecessary expense of approving a contract to install bullet-proof glass in the finance ministry of more than RM6 million.

“Najib can also not deny that only RM450 million, confirmed by the accountant-general, was left to the new government as at April 30, 2018, in the Consolidated Revenue Account when monthly payments of salaries or pensions amounted to RM8 billion, or BN’s failure to repay GST refunds of RM19.4 billion for more than two years, or BN’s failure to repay income tax refunds of RM16 billion stretching back over six years.”