Monday, November 17, 2008

RM225 million of public funds missing

GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng wants former executive councillor Dr Teng Hock Nan to explain how RM225mil in the Seberang Prai Municipal Council’s coffers (MPSP) “disappeared” in six years. [The Star, 16/11/08]

Former State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Dr. Teng Hock Nan went ballistic when Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng publically voiced his frustration over the 'missing millions' incurred by the Seberang Prai Municipal Council while under Barisan Nasional rule.

Lim also said that the state as a whole was the final victim to bear the financial burden as a result of the huge losses amounting to RM225 million incurred by the Seberang Prai Municipal Council for the past six years; thus bearing a negative effect on the council's budget for 2009.

“Imagine in six years, RM225 million gone. Next year, we have to spend RM160mil for expenses but we (only) have RM145mil revenue which means the council will incur a RM15mil deficit. There is no new programme and there is not even enough to pay staff salaries,” Lim told reporters. [The Star, 16/11/08]

The Chief Minister also commented that the Penang Municipal Council had drawn up a balanced budget for the first time with Pakatan Rakyat in charge; subtly mocking the state's former administration.

On the other side of the fighting ring, Dr. Teng Hock Nan bit back at the Chief Minister's comments; saying it was rather unprofessional for the former to 'complain' to the press about this matter.

“In April, he (Lim Guan Eng) said the findings on the losses would be revealed but to date we have heard nothing. Instead, he has gone to the press asking me to explain the council’s finances and implying that things were not properly accounted for. This is a mere political ploy to embarrass me. Everything is properly documented - there are no secrets." he said. [The Star, 16/11/08]
Dr. Teng said it was unfair for the current state government to criticise the former administration on such issues as the DAP (now the ruling party of Penang) had the opportunity to debate on state expenditures while Penang was under the Barisan Nasional. However, he agreed that appropriate actions should be taken if the current administration finds any improprieties in previous local council budgets.

The former State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman was fair to say that it was not right for the current administration to question previous budgets as the DAP had the chance debate it then. But then again, who was given the responsibility of carrying out the budget? DAP or the Barisan Nasional state government?

In fact, the Chief Minister did present a valid argument: How did RM225 million just 'disappear' from the municipal council's coffers in a short period of six years?

The DAP may have had failed to seize their chance to effectively debate such budgets. True, but Dr. Teng Hock Nan did not offer any explanation either. Instead, the former State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman went about defending himself and the former Barisan Nasional administration when in fact, a simple explanation is all that the Chief Minister was asking for.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Look, say Penang govt wants to do audit on mismangement of previous state govt. Unfortunately no big reputable external audit firm wants to do the audit because federal govt is .. And which independent auditor wants to piss off federal govt?

    Good luck Penang state govt on finding out why and how the $$$ was spend.