JUNE 13 ― 1. We are encouraged that four senior DAP responded to our statement on Sunday questioning if Penang is on a path to a failed state or bankruptcy.
2. Penang EXCO YB Chow Kon Yeow's response was merely to say if Penang is a failed state, the federal government should call for a general election as soon as possible.
However, we are unsure how that answers our questions.
3. YAB Lim Guan Eng was next to reply. He claimed that Penang had only registered revenues of RM657.6 million from land sales from 2008 to 2015.
4. YAB Lim's reply has raised many questions from people who remembered YAB Lim praising the sale of RM1.07 billion worth of state land in Bayan Mutiara in the year 2011. Or the sale of RM484 million of land in Batu Kawan to Aspen Vision in 2014 saying that the entry of Ikea to sell furniture to Penang people would be an economic game-changer for the state.
5. Questions were also raised as YAB Lim was reported on December 16, 2016 to have confirmed that the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) had sold RM1.94 billion in land from 2008 to 2015,
6. Most are aware that PDC is 100 per cent owned by the Penang government thus many are curious why YAB Lim still claim that Penang only registered RM657.6 million in revenues from state land.
7. We are also dismayed that YAB Lim did not want to challenge our claim that as much as RM37 billion of state land, land rights and assets have been sold or traded away since 2008 and take up our offer for us to show him our list for him to confirm or dispute.
8. DAP Supremo YB Lim Kit Siang's reply however was that Penang will not fail but Malaysia will become a failed state instead ― a claim that Kit Siang had repeated since the 1960s including in a 1978 book of his titled Timebombs in Malaysia.
9. Malaysians have been waiting 50 years for Kit Siang's much-repeated prophecy of Malaysia becoming a failed state.
However, a key question would be if Malaysia is set to become a failed state and bankrupt then how is the federal government going to guarantee the billions in loans from China's EXIM Bank that YAB Lim Guan Eng wants to borrow for the state?
10. Penang Deputy Chief Minister II YB P.Ramasamy also responded by claiming that Penang has been saved by DAP. As proof, YB P.Ramasamy said that DAP had educed 95 per cent of Penang's state debt.
11. However, YB P.Ramasamy had neglected to explain that it was the Federal Government who in 2011, had converted a RM655 million debt of Penang into annual lease payments over 45 years ― which means the state actually ends up paying the same RM655 million amount ― that allowed the Penang state government to boast a 95 per cent reduction in state debt.
In fact, YAB Lim had issued a press statement to thank Prime Minister YAB Najib Razak and the Federal Government for this assistance.
12. We are disappointed that despite four top DAP leaders responding to our statement with various rhetoric and diversion, none of our questions were actually answered. We repeat them in brief here:
a) Is it true that the Penang government has sold or traded away at least RM37 billion worth of state land, land rights and assets since DAP took over in 2008?
b) Is it true that there is not much state land left to sell as stated by Penang EXCO YB Chow Kon Yeow last year?
c) Is it true that the cost of the Penang Transport Masterplan Project has increased in price from RM27 billion to RM46 billion over the past year as stated by YB Chow Kon Yeow?
d) Is it true that the Penang State Government will resort to bank borrowings to make-up the RM19 billion gap between RM27 billion and RM46 billion as was stated by YB Chow in his interview with The Edge last July?
e) Did the Penang government recently diverted funds from the state reserves as emergency loans of RM609 million to the state-owned Penang Development Corp, which has seen its profits plunge by 80 per cent in recent years and another RM30 million to the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBA)?
All these questions are relevant to the future of Penang and its people ― especially in light of the recent confirmation by the state government that yearly state operating expenses have increased 500 per cent since DAP took over in 2008.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.