Government reversed the previous Pakatan Harapan administration’s promise to guarantee the RM2.04 billion loan for Penang.
Putrajaya’s announcement to cancel the RM2 billion loan guarantee for the development of the light rail transit (LRT) in Penang is a despicable political vendetta against the state and people of Penang, said Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim.
He said the Penang government did not ask for a loan from the federal government for the project and urged Putrajaya to reinstate the loan guarantee.
He was referring to a November 25 parliamentary written reply by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, who had said the government had reversed the previous Pakatan Harapan administration’s promise to guarantee the RM2.04 billion loan for Penang.
Zafrul said the decision was in line with the revised revenue and income projections for the country, as well as the government’s focus to restore the economy, following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The said loan is to be secured from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a reputable regional development financial institution. A federal loan guarantee is the least that the federal government can do for Penang.
“Reinstate the loan guarantee or fully fund the Penang LRT project,” Sim said in a statement.
He said a public survey showed that 97.7% of Penangites wanted an LRT.
“The then Pakatan Harapan government had agreed on the loan guarantee to develop Penang according to the needs of the state and the aspirations of the people,” he said.
Sim also said in Budget 2021 the Perikatan Nasional had provided RM15 billion for five mega projects, including the Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak and the MRT3 in Klang Valley.
“While multibillion-ringgit transport projects are being funded by the PN administration in other states, Penang’s loan guarantee was disappointingly cancelled.
“This is despite Penang being the second-highest tax contributor to the country,” he added. – TMI