Wednesday 3 October 2012

Guan Eng: RM6.7mil for a 1Malaysia store?

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has questioned the huge allocation for a mere 57 Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) outlets in Sabah and Sarawak in Budget 2013, which works out to a staggering RM6.7 million per store.

“In 2012, (Prime Minister) Najib Abdul Razak announced the setting up of 85 KR1M stores in peninsula Malaysia with an allocation of RM40 million. This works out to RM470,000 per store.

NONE“For Budget 2013, the setting up of 57 KR1M stores in Sabah and Sarawak costs RM386 million or RM6.7 million per store, which is an increase of 15 times in the cost of one KR1M store of RM470,000 in peninsula Malaysia,” he said.

Lim queried why would the KR1M stores which sell only basic necessities like sugar, rice and salt cost millions of ringgit.

“Or are the KR1M store also selling goods like designer handbags, gold and diamond jewellery?” he said.

‘Gov’t hid electricity tariff hike’

Lim also accused the government of attempting to hide its intention to increase power tariff in the budget, pointing out that Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin had yesterday admitted that the hike was inevitable due to climbing international fuel prices.

“Such an admission by Peter Chin is shocking as this should be included by any responsible government in the 2013 Budget.

“If a hike in electricity tariffs is inevitable, why then was this not announced in the 2013 Budget presented by Najib on Sept 28, 2012,” he said.

Aside from lacking transparency, Lim said that the government budget is now into its 16th year of deficit, with its total debt at the highest level in history at RM502.4 billion.

“And this RM502.4 billion debt does not even include contingent liabilities estimated at more than RM110 billion, that are not officially on the books,” he said.

Yet, he added that the government was willing to fork out spending such as RM272.5 million to improve public satisfaction on police performance instead of reducing actual crime and improving the police force.

“The BN has decided to allocate this money for an empty public relations exercise that will only benefit politically-linked consultants and advertisers,” he said.

In contrast, Lim said the Pakatan-led Penang government had the highest ever surpluses in Penang’s history in each of the four years it was in power.

“Sustainable debt reduction was adopted and (we) managed to cut down the state government debt by 95 percent or RM600 million from RM630 million in March 2008 to only RM30 million by end 2011,” he said.

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