KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Perak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) accused the Barisan Nasional (BN) state government today of recklessly emptying the state’s coffers, claiming Perak was headed towards financial ruin with a record budget deficit of RM104 million this year.
Sitiawan assemblyman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham slammed the BN state administration for its plan to table a RM80 million supplementary budget during the Perak assembly next Tuesday, saying the request for additional funds only proved the administration’s inefficiency.
The former senior state executive councillor claimed that the BN administration, in its short rule under Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, had ruined the hard work of its predecessors.
“PR’s 10-month rule saw Perak’s revenue touch a historic high with an additional RM103 million.
“Ten months of BN’s rule sees Perak facing its highest deficit in history, with RM104 Million in deficit.
“The request by the BN government for an additional RM80 million proves PR governs the state better than the BN,” he claimed in a statement today.
Ngeh said that before PR helmed the state in 2008, the previous BN government had presented a deficit budget of RM39,998,870 for 2008.
“When we took over, we collected an additional revenue of RM103 million without increasing any form of taxes or charges on the people. Therefore, there was a surplus amount of about RM63 million in 2008,” he said.
He noted that to be prudent, the PR state government presented a budget with a reduced deficit of RM25 million for 2009.
Last year, the new BN government further reduced the deficit to RM23,890,000 when it tabled the 2010 budget.
“But as expect with its corrupt and non-transparent administration, the BN government chalked up additional expenditure and it is now asking the state assembly to approve another RM80 million for its administration.
“In the circumstances, the BN government is expected to register RM103,890,000 in deficit for 2010, which is the highest in Perak history,” he said.
Ngeh alleged that BN had squandered away the state’s revenue on useless frivolities that only benefitted its cronies.
He cited the example of how the Zambry had created posts for three advisors to the state government and one information officer, and allotted them salaries and benefits equivalent to those of the state executive councillors.
The three are former Jalong assemblyman Datuk Chang Ko Youn as advisor for Chinese affairs, former Sungkai assemblyman Datuk S. Veerasingam as advisor for Indian affairs, Batu Kurau assemblyman Captain (rtd) Najmuddin Elias Al-Hafiz as advisor for Islamic affairs, and Pengkalan Baru assemblyman Datuk Hamdi Abu Bakar as the information chief.
“Why does the government need to pay Chang and Veerasingam as state advisors with exco pays and benefits? Is Zambry, the BN mentri besar, admitting that he is not competent to govern the state or is he just trying to benefit BN candidates who have lost in the elections?
“These are public funds and not his personal money,” he said.
Ngeh further accused Zambry of attempting to garner personal support by plastering thousands of promotional posters of him across the state.
“The government also announced [it was] giving RM50,000 to each MCA division. We believe that the government is secretly doing the same for Umno divisions.
“They also wasted state funds to promote the BN government by advertising in the media and sending ‘Teachers’ Day’ cards every teacher,” he claimed.
Ngeh called on Zambry to itemise his proposal for the RM80 million supplementary budget and list down what the money would be used for.
“The people have the right to know the details to ensure that it does not go to dubious projects,” he said.
He also urged the BN government to practice open tenders for government projects and the award timber concessions.
“This has proven to bring in a huge increase of revenue to the state,” he said.
Another former state executive councillor, Nga Kor Ming, said Zambry should resign for his incompetency in handling state funds.
“If he still has some moral values with him and before more damage is done to our beloved state, Zambry should resign and dissolve the assembly,” he said in a statement.
The Pantai Remis assemblyman added that if the assembly approved the supplementary supply bill for RM80 million, Perak’s deficit would reach 14.2 per cent of its budget, which is three times worse than the federal government’s 5.6 per cent and 4.3 times worse than the 3.3 per cent international benchmark fixed by the European Union for sustainable development.