Kelantan’s strapped finances not new, that’s why Putrajaya helping, says Guan Eng

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (centre) arrives at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur October 22, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (centre) arrives at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur October 22, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Lim Guan Eng defended his earlier remark about the Kelantan government’s impoverished financial state in the Dewan Rakyat today, saying he is not the first person to highlight it.

The finance minister said his predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was also prime minister then, had noted the PAS-led state government’s inability to pay the salaries of its civil servants without help from the federal government, then under Barisan Nasional, and cited a news report dated January 28 to back his assertion.

“It is true the Kelantan government cannot afford to pay the salary. This had been going on from before.

“Recently, I had also approved a sum of allocation to assist the Kelantan government,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here.

Earlier, several opposition lawmakers had told Lim to apologise over his remarks that the Kelantan state government could not afford to pay its civil servants.

Kota Baru MP Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said Lim’s statement was misleading and was an insult to all state governments which relied on the federal government for financial assistance.

The PAS secretary general said if Lim fails to retract his statement and apologise, the opposition bloc will file a motion to refer him to the Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee.

Earlier, the Dewan Rakyat turned unruly today when Lim pointed out that the Kelantan state government could not “afford” to pay its civil servants’ salaries without federal government assistance.

Lim took a jab at Takiyuddin Hassan during Question Time when the latter asked if the Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu state governments could take over the East Coast Rail Link project currently suspended by the federal government.