Guan Eng: Penang to become ‘welfare state’ without going bankrupt
(Malay Mail Online) – Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today his administration hopes to turn Penang into a welfare state while still recording annual surplus budgets.
In a statement, the DAP leader said his administration has been on track to achieving this so far, noting that despite allocating a total sum of RM255.86 million for welfare programmes in schools since 2009, the state’s surplus budget now stands at RM503 million.
He added that the state government has also proven that it can continue to record budget surpluses without imposing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) due to the clean administration.
“We aim to make Penang a welfare state without going bankrupt,” he said in a statement issued today.
Lim said that the Pakatan Harapan state government has also ensured equal fairness for all Penangites through its various social and welfare programmes.
“The state government has reduced income inequality with the Gini Coefficient at 0.37 in 2012 as compared to 0.42 in 2009, the largest drop in three years in Malaysia,” he said.
Between 2009 and November 20, the state government disbursed a total RM176.06 million under its Emas Programmes for senior citizens (RM112.4 million), single mothers (RM5.4 million), people with special needs (RM3.6 million), students (RM20.12 million), housewives (RM9 million), newborns (RM11.47 million) and undergraduates (RM13.98 million).
As for the allocations to schools, Lim said the state government sets aside annual allocations of RM12 million for vernacular schools, independent Chinese secondary and religious schools.
Since 2009, the state government has given RM79.8 million to these schools, he added.
He pointed out that the state government has also successfully reduced the state government’s debt, while the unemployment rate has also been reduced to 1.7 per cent.
“It is indeed proven that the clean, competent and good governance by the Pakatan Harapan state government has enabled Penangites to reap the benefits of anti-corruption, together,” he said.
Lim said the state government will continue with its efforts to make Penang an internationally-renowned state and the first Malaysian state that emphasises on its people’s welfare.