Penang sets up committee to monitor Chief Minister Inc

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow heads the monitoring committee which consists of his two deputies, the state secretary and state financial officer.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has set up a monitoring committee to oversee Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI), the state investment arm, which came under the spotlight after it was revealed that it had no accounts or board members.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the monitoring committee is headed by himself and consists of his two deputies, the state secretary and the state financial officer.

“We had decided on this two months ago. It is like a board of directors, but not exactly like one, whose role is to monitor and approve projects undertaken by CMI,” he said after presenting excellent service awards to 245 members of the Penang civil service at a hotel in Bayan Lepas today.

Chow said a special ledger will be introduced to show the “inflow and outflow of revenue” at CMI to ensure accountability.

Asked if the accounts would be tabled at the state assembly, state secretary Farizan Darus said that currently, all revenue from CMI was channelled directly to the state’s Consolidated Funds.

“So, through the new ledger, we will know how much is coming in and going out,” he said.

Former chief minister Lim Guan Eng had told a defamation trial at the High Court here on Monday that CMI was not subject to federal audit, and had no accounts or board members.

Responding to that, academic Terence Gomez said that state governments should reveal accounts under their state investment arms.

Gomez said that up to now, no single Menteri Besar Incorporated or CMI had revealed their accounts for public scrutiny.

He said these outfits should open their accounts for the sake of transparency.

On another matter, Chow dismissed rumours that many factories were shuttering in Penang, saying only 100 workers were laid off by a company.

On the issue of water tariffs, he said the federal government had not yet approved the revised pricing scheme submitted by the state government.

Chow also dismissed a report that the Komtar-Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit and Pan Island Link 1 highway projects had been approved.

He said the report was based on sources and the authorities had yet to make an official announcement.