(The Sun) BUTTERWORTH (April 13, 2008): The Penang state government will make public the findings of the independent auditor investigating the Seberang Perai Municipal Council’s (MPSP) depleting coffers which fell from RM229mil in 2000 to just RM25.6mil at the end of last year.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said by the end of the year, the state government feared the council would not have sufficient funds to even pay its employees.
"We want to get to the bottom of this and the people can rest assured the state government will make the findings public as they have the right to know about how the money was spent. We also would want to know how the money terbang" Lim said after officiating at the opening of Bagan Dalam assemblyman A.Thanasekaran’s service centre here today.
Lim said the state government will take appropriate action against those who had depleted the council’s funds to enrich themselves.
He added that the state government was keen to run a government which was transparent and accountable and wanted Penang to regain its place as one of the nation’s most developed cities.
"Penang used to be one of the leading developed states but we have now been pushed to fifth place after the Federal Territory, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Johor Baru," Lim added.
On the statement by former deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Rashid Abdullah, who was also in charge of land matters that the state government should make public its claims on inappropriate land alienation, Lim said Rashid should come forward to meet the state government.
"We would like to welcome him to clarify regarding these land matters and we are more than willing to announce to the public what we are talking about.
"We cannot touch land matters which are pending in court, but we can reveal the rest since the former state representatives have asked for it.
"Do they want us to do that? They should come forward to help us," Lim added.
He also expressed disappointment with former chief minister Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon who has not been forthcoming nor willing to meet Lim.
"When he handed over office to me, I told him that I would like to meet him again to discuss certain issues pertaining to state administration.
"However, despite numerous tries over the past month, I have been unable to get in touch with him, let alone meet him.
"He seems to be very busy and does not have the time to meet up with me," Lim said.
"I have even met former Chief Minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu who made time to see me, but Koh seems to be evasive.
"I only want to meet him so that we can share ideas and get his advice on how to better run the state but I do not know why he is not keen to meet us," Lim added.
He also clarified that the RM600 KAFA (kursus asas fardu ain) ex gratia for 1,465 religious teachers would be paid out annually and not a one off payment.