CM: We don’t owe Putrajaya arrears for federal loans

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Jan 9: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg clarified today that Sarawak does not owe Putrajaya any arrears for its loans.

“No, we don’t have (outstanding loan repayment). We just need to reconcile the figures, that’s all,” Abang Johari told reporters after unveiling the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) logo at Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) headquarters here today.

Abang Johari, who is also the Sarawak Finance Minister, insisted that the statement issued by the Sarawak government on Monday to rebut Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s recent assertion was still valid.

“You just focus on the press statement that we have issued to you,” he reiterated.

In the press statement issued on Monday, the Sarawak government asserted that it had always provided sufficient allocation in its annual budget to repay the federal loans, which amounted to RM2.38 billion as at Dec 31, 2018.

It added that the federal loans were always paid in a timely manner based on the repayment schedules as stipulated in the agreement between the state and federal governments.

Yesterday, Lim continued to accuse the Sarawak government of making false claims and seeking to slander the federal government.

In a statement, Lim reiterated that the amount stipulated in his statement on Jan 6 was as of Nov 2018, whereby the balance of the debt stood at more than RM2.5 billion and the arrears was RM46.5 million.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari refused to be dragged into the tourism tax issue that arose after Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah requested for the state’s share of the tax collected.

Abang Johari also refused to comment whether Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) will be admitted into GPS.

“That would be another story,” he said. — DayakDaily