RM3.2bil debt can be settled, says Pahang state secretary

KUANTAN: The Pahang government’s debt of RM3.2bil with the Federal Government can be settled within a certain period after the restructuring of the state water supply company’s management, said state secretary Datuk Seri Muhammad Safian Ismail.

He said once the management of Pengurusan Air Pahang Berhad (Paip) is completely restructured, part of the debt can be considered settled as RM2.2bil will become an allocation or grant from the Federal Government.

“We have no problem paying the debt to the Federal Government as RM2.2bil is for water supply projects managed by Paip. It will no longer be a debt because it is a grant or allocation from the Federal Government to the state for the projects.

“As state secretary, I have been given the responsibility to negotiate with the Federal Government and the restructuring of the water management in the state, through Paip, is scheduled to be finalised by the end of this year,” Muhammad Safian said.

He said the balance of RM1bil will be settled in stages, including negotiating with the Federal Government so that the debt will turn into allocations for various factors.

“These are low-cost housing projects, where many of the buyers have not repaid their loans, and some RM200mil for the hosting of Sukma in 2012, which includes the upgrading and renovation of the swimming pool and stadiums,” he said.

Muhammad Safian added that other factors were flood matters, where the state was given a loan of RM40mil for the handling of natural disaster and the welfare of victims.

He also said the government will collect payment from Tenaga Nasional Berhad, which owed a sum of money for using water to generate power supply mainly at the Cameron Highlands plant.

In another development, Muhammad Safian said the government is facing an overdue debt from the people amounting to RM151mil from various taxes, low-cost housing rentals and mineral royalties which were not collected or paid since the 1970s until May 31 this year.

Muhammad Safian said aggressive tax collection is ongoing and the people can pay their debts online while land administrators will open up booths at villages and housing development areas for easy access to make payments.

Southern & Eastern Region , Pahang , debt