KUALA LUMPUR: The Kelantan government could only afford to repay RM3.94 million, or one per cent of the RM395.83 million debt it had to pay to the Federal government in 2016.
In revealing this, DAP Bukit Mertajam member of parliament Steven Sim claimed that the balance of public debt owed by the state government stood at almost RM1.4 billion as of 2016.
Sim, who is the Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, said the debt is proof of the weakness of the Kelantan government in managing its finances.
“In terms of financial performance, the Kelantan government recorded losses every year from 2012 to 2016. The total deficit during the period was RM1.1 billion.
“In the same period, the state government’s public debt also increased every year. The balance of the state government’s public debt in 2016 was RM1.4 billion.
“Let the people evaluate for themselves whether such a financial performance is a reflection of good governance.
“I hope Pas leaders will no longer reject reality and stop distorting the facts while putting the blame on others. Be brave enough to confront reality and their weaknesses as well as adopt change towards embracing efficiency, responsibility and transparency for the sake of the people of Kelantan,” he said in a statement.
DAP are currently locked in a feud with Pas after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday, said that the Kelantan government was unable to pay the salaries of its civil servants.
Lim was severely criticised by the Pas leadership, who urged him to show proof of his claim.
Lim, who had expressed his disappointment over claims by several Kelantan Pas leaders who had allegedly described him as anti-Malay and anti-Islam, subsequently produced an official letter from the Kelantan Pas government, in which the latter had applied for a loan from the Federal government.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak voiced his support for the Kelantan government and questioned the need to criticised and expose the state government’s confidential letter.
Najib claimed Kelantan is now the poorest state in the country because Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had cancelled development projects in the state when he took over the government as the fourth prime minister after Pas won over the state in 1990.
“When I was the prime minister, I allocated funds for Kelantan for development infrastructure as well as irrigation.
“The Kelantan state government managed to reduce its deficit every year and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased to RM13.593 or 95.8 per cent from 2008 till the end of last year compared to an increase of 60.6 per cent for Penang in the same period.
“The government should assist states which show slow development progress and not to despise and belittle them,” he said via a social media posting.