IPOH (June 3, 2008) : By Humayun Kabir
The former Perak government has shot down the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration's claim of shortage of funds, saying that it left RM700 million in the state coffers in the form of shares and bank deposits.
State Barisan Nasional chairman and former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali said: "Our government did not leave the state treasury in the red as alleged by the PR-led government. "
He said PR politicians are going around the rural areas claiming there are no funds left for development as the money has been used up by the former BN government.
"This wrong perception conveyed to the rural people has put the BN government in a bad light and I had remained silent for so long. Now I am going to speak my mind and clear all the wrong and misleading allegations," he told a press conference this evening.
Tajol Rosli said the PR government had also been harping about the RM8 million in development funds being used up by the BN state assemblymen within 75 days from January this year, just before the general election.
To this, he said: "There is a RM180 million development fund allocated and left by the former state government. If RM8 million was used up as reported in the press, then the PR should ask questions about the balance of RM172 million remaining with the State Development Officer (SDO)."
Tajol Rosli also clarified that state assemblymen do not handle the development allocation directly.
"We only give our proposal and applications to the SDO on what development the funds are needed for. The SDO then approves the amount which is directly channelled by him through the district officers in the form of warrants into the projects that are proposed.
"So, how can PR claim we had misused the money when no cash is handled by any BN state assemblymen?" he asked.
He said all expenditures are accounted for by the SDO and there is no misuse of money as alleged. He suggested the PR government ask the SDO for the expenditure accounts of RM8 million.
"The PR should get their priorities right and first learn about accounting and auditing before commenting on the financial situation of the previous state government They might be lawyers but they have to learn a lot in financial matters," he added.
Tajol said he allocates state funds of RM75,000 to each assemblyman and an additional RM100,000 to each state Exco member, adding that the allocation is given in two tranches -- in January and June every year.
He said the allocation is for small projects in the assemblymen's constituencies and strict regulations have to be followed before the money is channelled.
Tajol Rosli said he will go on a BN roadshow tomorrow to dispel the allegations by the PR government. The first stop will be Sungai Siput, followed by Padang Rengas, Lenggong and Grik.