JOHOR BARU: More than 1,000 recipients of state land owe the Johor government in excess of RM407mil.
Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said that up to October, 1,033 people had not settled their premiums.
The largest amount of arrears, RM352mil, involves the Federal Government. The premium for 18 pieces of land meant for development has not been settled, he said in reply to Samsol Bari Jamali (BN Semarang) at the Johor State Assembly yesterday.
Other government agencies and private companies owed RM43.17mil, and 933 individuals owed a total of RM11.88mil.
Debating the state budget later, Datuk Abdullah Ali (BN Bukit Naning) proposed a Water Services, Technology and Innovation Fund, with help from the Federal Government, be set up to boost the number of local experts.
Currently, the water services sector is flooded by foreign technology and expertise, he noted.
The state government should encourage locals to venture into that sector and innovate water-related technology, thus establishing Johor as the water hub.''
Dr Mohd Ramli Kari (PAS Senggarang) told the assembly that Johor was the highest debtor among state governments, owing the Federal Government RM598.35mil.
Referring to the state budget 2006, he noted that RM52.2mil had been allocated to settle part of the debt.
This means the state government would need almost 12 years to settle the entire RM598.35mil, provided that no new debts were incurred during this period, he said.
Dr Ramli, the lone opposition representative in the 55-member assembly, spoke for the first time since the assembly began on Nov 30.