Friday, 26 January 2001 12:38 PM
projects land Kedah with RM1 billion debt
Tue: The Kedah state government is believed to be more than a billion
ringgit in debt due to its overspending on luxury projects, an opposition leader
Barisan Alternatif state assemblyman for Lunas Saifuddin Nasution Ismail told malaysiakini
that the projects, costing more than RM1.2 billion were carried forward from
former Menteri Besar Sanusi Junid's tenure.
He added that the present Menteri Besar Syed Razak Syed Zain not only endorsed
the projects but ensured they continued.
"The figure is staggering. This is more than the state government can
afford," said Saifuddin, who has been in office for two months.
"Besides, these projects are not beneficial to the people of Kedah,"
Saifuddin claimed that he had secured the information on the amount of the debt
from the latest Auditor-General's report. He had access to it when he attended
the last day of the Kedah state assembly sitting last December.
He reported that the state assembly had refused to debate the budget for these
projects whenever a resolution concerning it was called by the opposition.
"When we put forward a resolution to debate the matter, the speaker rejects
it outright," said Saifuddin.
According to Saifuddin, the luxury projects are:
- The construction of 1,000 steps leading to Gunung Jerai,
- a butchery centre in Kampung Paya Pahlawan, Kubang Pasu. Cows are to be
slaughtered here for the Hari Raya Haji Korban ( religious sacrifice),
- a safari park in Sik,
- an airfield in Tasik Pedu and
- a book village in Lubuk Sembilang, Langkawi.
"I am disappointed when I heard about these (projects) which are more of an
ego-boosting exercise than to serve the needs of the people," Saifuddin
He added that the two most pressing issues in Kedah were the livelihood of padi
farmers and the problem of high water rates for households due to the
privatisation of the Water Supply Department.
He also said that it would be better to aid senior citizens, single mothers and
abandoned wives and children than to waste funds on luxury and unnecessary