GEORGE TOWN – The Penang DAP government today tabled Budget 2017 amounting to RM1.45 billion with a deficit of RM667.1 million compared to RM292.13 million deficit for Budget 2016.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the deficit budget was due to the transfer of RM790 million from the Consolidated Revenue Account to the Development Fund to finance development projects costing RM887.44 million.
“The deficit of RM667.1 million will be covered by the state reserves,” he said when tabling the Supply Bill 2017 in the Penang State Assembly, here today.
Lim said since the state’s expected revenue for 2017 did not increase, the state government did not have the option of equaling the estimates in 2016.
“The implementation of development projects, the provision of loans to state statutory bodies to spur the state’s economic transformation for the wellbeing of the people, have resulted in a deficit budget for 2017.”
The lion’s share of the budget was for the Chief Minister’s Office and the State Secretary’s Office, which received RM707.61 million compared to RM161.59 million in 2016.
Lim said the big increase was due to the increase in the provision of facilities such as loans, from RM100 million in 2016 to RM639 million in 2017.
Some RM57.57 million was allocated for roads of which RM47.93 million was for widening of Jalan Bukit Minyak-Alma, widening of industry road to Jalan Tok Kangar, building a bridge over Sungai Kerian, RM7.64 million for maintenance of state roads and RM2 million for maintenance of rural roads.
Budget 2017 offers tax break for 2016 to all residents of low cost, medium low cost and kampung house and discount of six per cent assessment tax to other properties including commercial.
Lim also announced a half month bonus or a minimum of RM700 for state civil servants next month (Dec) and another one quarter salary to those who did not take sick leave for more four days until Nov 2016.
The half month bonus payment to 4,178 state civil servants involves an allocation of RM4.19 million.
A RM300 bonus would be given to KAFA supervisors and teachers, SAR (Islamic) school teachers and teachers and staff of private Chinese schoools and RM200 to tahfiz teachers, pondok school teachers and Islamic kindergarten teachers.
Meanwnhile, Lee Khai Loon (DAP-Machang Bubuk) has urged the state government to build retention ponds in the constituency to prevent flash floods.
“I hope the state government can address the flash floods. Rainfall in nearby Kulim will cause flash floods,” he told the state assembly.
State Exco for Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation, Chow Kon Yeow said the state government was concerned about the flash floods.
“If the proposed retention ponds can prevent flash flooods, then I will make preparation towards that,” he said in reply to the suggestion by Lee.
State Exco for Town & Country Planning and Housing, Jagdeep Singh Deo said the government did not plan to enact a law to limit companies and foreigners from buying properties within George Town World Heritage Site.
However, the state government was studying the possibility of establishing a Rent Regulation Enactment within George Town World Heritage Site.
Sitting continues on Thursday. – BERNAMA