PETALING JAYA: With its increasing debts, Penang is set to become a failed state, Barisan Nasional has announced.
Its strategic communications team said in a statement yesterday that judging by how the state government was managing the state, the people in Penang soon “will be hit with further increases in charges, fines, state taxes and water rates to help the state government cope”.
“Over the past three years, Penang has increased assessment and quit rent rates, increased monthly parking rates, increased water rates four times, doubled the raw water extraction rates, increased the penalties for housing developers in lieu of affordable housing and increased fines for various municipal offences,” the statement said.
It pointed out that Penang’s annual operating expenses have steadily increased every year to 500% of what it was in the year 2008.
It said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, instead of answering queries on the issue, had resorted to diversion and rhetoric. It has also listed the queries that require a “yes or no” answer.
“Is it true that the Penang government has sold or traded away at least RM37bil worth of state land rights and assets since DAP took over in 2008?
“We are happy to provide a list of such deals for Lim to verify should he be interested to confirm or dispute.
“Is it true that there is not much state land left to sell as stated by Penang exco member Chow Kon Yeow last year?
“Is it true that the cost of the Penang Transport Masterplan Project has increased from RM27bil (original budget) to RM46bil over the past year as stated by Chow?
“Is it true that the Penang state government will resort to bank borrowings, possibly from China, to make up the RM19bil gap as stated by Chow in his interview with The Edge last July?” added the statement.
It also said that in the interest of transparency and accountability, the questions raised were relevant for the future of Penang and its people.
In response to the statement, Chow said if Penang is a failed state, the Federal Government should call for a general election as soon as possible and let the people decide their future.
“I think the Barisan Nasional’s strategic communications team’s statement is off the mark,” he said.
“It’s the people who will ultimately decide if we are wrong, so call the election fast to decide who is right.”