Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 2.1.2017.
Penang would have recorded RM1,074 million in accumulated surplus since 2008 if RM500 million had not been allocated for the Public & Affordable Housing Fund. This RM500 million Public & Affordable Housing Fund was taken out of the RM658 million in land sales by the state government, clearly showing that land sales was not the reason for the annual surpluses of the state government, which amounted to RM574 million since 2008.
The Penang state government is proud of its sterling achievement of recording annual surpluses consistently and at the same time reduced its state debts by 90% since 2008. This singular success of annual budget surpluses coupled with low debt is a result of upholding CAT governance of competency, accountability and transparency.
These annual budget surpluses is the reason why the state government is able to afford and repeats our offer to lend the Federal government RM50 million to help them keep their 2016 promise to give RM50 million for Chinese primary schools. Is the Federal government so “poor” that for the second year running, it can not even find RM50 million development funds promised for Chinese primary schools last year. Something is very wrong and shameful if the Federal government cannot even find RM50 million or 0.02% out of the entire RM261 billion 2017 budget.
Since 2008, Penang has recorded accumulated budget surpluses of RM574 million over the last 8 years, which is more than what BN achieved over the last 50 years they ruled Penang from 1957-2007 of RM373 million. Whilst our political opponents do not deny that we performed better in 8 years than they did in 50 years, they claimed that these surpluses are achieved by land sales.
The Penang state government received a total revenue of RM4,947 million since 2008. Land sales revenue since 2008 amounted to RM658 million or 13% of the total revenue of RM4,947 million. Out of the land sales revenue of RM658 million, the state government had allocated RM500 million for the Public and Affordable Housing Fund to build low cost, low-medium cost and houses below RM300,000/-.
In other words, since 2008 only RM158 million was available as contribution towards accumulated surplus of RM574 million, and towards establishing a welfare state where over RM400 million has been paid out as cash payments to 1.6 million Penangites and schools. Or hundreds of millions of ringgit for development purposes to build public infrastructure.
The previous government had also conducted land sales on a much larger scale selling 3,661 acres compared to only 106.1 acres under the present state government. And yet the present state government brought in a higher sum of RM1.1102 billion from the sale of 106.1 acres of land due to our open competitive tender system.
Compared to the different system of selling 3,661 acres by the previous BN state government that only obtained a lesser amount of RM1.0586 billion, such as the sale of reclaimed land in Tanjung Pinang at only RM1 per square feet. BN sold 36 times more land and yet received less money than the present state government, this is the change from the CAT administration that benefited Penangites!
LIM GUAN ENG