GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday refuted the allegation by Penang Umno Liaison Committee chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman that the state government had earned RM12.5 billion profit from sales of land.
The allegation was untrue and indeed a slander, he told a press conference here yesterday.
On Sunday, Zainal Abidin claimed that several newspapers reported that the state government had earned profit of approximately RM12.5 billion from the sales of land, not including the revenue of other projects implemented in the state. Zainal was also reported as saying that Penang Umno found it weird when the state government still wanted to borrow money from a bank in China when Lim had clearly said that the state government had a budget surplus and savings of over RM1.2 billion.
He said the state government was also supposed to use the profit earned from the sales of land for development purposes and not to take more loan from the bank.
On the loan, Lim said it was undeniable that the state government had a budget surplus of RM1.6 billion, but it was worth it to take the loan as the interest rate was lower that the market rate.
Last Thursday, the Penang State Legislative Assembly passed the Penang Loan (Banks and Other Financial Sources) Bill 2017 which will allow the DAP-led government to borrow money from China Exim Bank. The amount of money borrowed under the bill was to finance the investment and implementation of the physical, economic and social development of the state as well as other related matters, including the Penang Transport Master Plan 2013-2030 (PTMP). — Bernama