KUCHING, June 23 — The auditor-general and international rating agencies have affirmed Sarawak’s finances, the state ministry of finance and economic planning said today.
The ministry also said the state government will continue to strengthen its financial management under good government practices, strict financial discipline and prudence at all times.
“The Auditor-General of Malaysia had accorded Sarawak with an unqualified report for the past 17 consecutive years,” the ministry said in response to claims by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng that the state government would go bankrupt within three years under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
The ministry said it will always ensure that the state government will have the capacity and ability to finance any plan or commitment undertaken for the benefit of the people of Sarawak.
It also stressed that the GPS state government is a responsible government that has always been practising and upholding the principle of a disciplined and responsible financial management.
Lim, speaking at a Sarawak DAP dinner two nights ago, had also claimed that the state reserves of RM30 billion would be wiped out if the GPS government continued to table a large state budget that allocated a sum of RM11 billion over the next three years.
The ministry also said the international rating agencies, such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, had also re-affirmed the state’s commendable investment credit rating at A3 and A-, respectively.
“These achievements are clear testimony of the state’s continuous sound financial management in exercising financial prudence and financial discipline at all levels,” the ministry said.
It noted that the state government had recorded budget surpluses for many years as a result of higher revenue than expenditure.
It added the continuous budget surpluses have enabled the state to build up its reserves.
The ministry said over the last five years, the state’s total revenue from 2014 to 2018 was RM35.8 billion while the ordinary expenditure for the same period was RM30 billion, giving a total surplus of RM5.5 billion.
“As such, the statement made by the federal minister for finance that Sarawak will go bankrupt if it continues to be ruled by GPS is totally misleading and with political motive.
“As Minister of Finance [of] Malaysia, it is incumbent upon Lim to be careful and responsible as any statement from him will be taken as a signal of the health of the Malaysian economy,” the ministry said.
The ministry reminded Lim that the negotiation to restore the rights and status of Sabah and Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is still ongoing.
It questioned if Lim’s statement on Sarawak reflects the stand of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government of being unwilling to restore equal status to the two Borneo states.