Salleh Said Keruak
In November 2015, the DAP-led Penang state government announced a deficit budget for the fifth year running (FMT, 6 Nov 2015). The deficit, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, would, however, be covered by the state’s accumulated savings of RM880 million (Mkini, 6 Nov 2015).
The PKR-led Selangor state government, on the other hand, announced reserves of roughly RM3.5 billion. This, the opposition said, is proof that the opposition is a capable government because the latest figures are a slight improvement from what it used to be pre-2008 before the opposition took over the state.
What must also be noted is that Selangor also announced the largest deficit in the state’s history in its RM2.9 billion budget (The Star, 30 Nov 2015).
The main income for both Penang and Selangor are derived from the sale of land, land premiums and property taxes.
What is seldom talked about is that Sarawak has reserves of RM27 billion. When Adenan Satem first took over as Chief Minister in 2014, he announced a surplus budget.
Only about 25% of the Sarawak’s expenditure is for operating costs while the bulk is for development (Mkini, 7 Dec 2015). In comparison, Selangor spends more than 50% of its expenditure on operating costs while Penang spends 75%.
If success is measured in financials, then Sarawak has proven itself, although Sarawak does not shout about it like Penang and Selangor. And under Adenan the focus of Sarawak is development for the good of the people.