KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday questioned the Kelantan government’s ability to take over the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project from the federal government.
He said the state government still relies on financial aid from the federal government and cannot even pay the salaries of civil servants without funds from Putrajaya.
He said the financial aid is not something new as it had started since the days of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Indeed, the Kelantan government has been unable to pay the staff from the past. Recently, I approved an allocation to help the state government.
“Although the opposition states strongly criticise the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, we still provide aid. That’s a fact. And, this (giving of aid) has taken place since the administration of Najib,” he said to reporters at the Parliament lobby.
Earlier, an exchange of words took place during Question Time when Lim was replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS-Kota Bahru) on the possibility of the Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang governments taking their own initiative to continue the ECRL project if it is cancelled by the federal government.
Lim said he welcomed the initiative of the state governments but questioned their financial capability.
“It has set me thinking how the Kelantan government can do so if it cannot even pay the salaries of its civil servants,” he said.
Najib, during a working visit to Kelantan as the prime minister in January this year, reportedly said that the PAS government in Kelantan cannot even pay the salaries of its civil servants. — Bernama