Half-truths and propaganda cannot hide Penang's problems, Gerakan tells DAP

GEORGE TOWN: Serdang lawmaker Dr Ong Kian Ming’s attempt to white-wash Penang's economic performance under DAP with half-truths and selective data cannot hide the state's under-performance since 2008, Gerakan said.

Its secretary-general Datuk Liang Teck Meng said Ong should acknowledged the problem and stop helping the DAP-led Penang government to cover the harsh reality of its under-performance.

“Half-truths and propaganda cannot hide Penang's problems,” he said in a media statement today.

Liang said Ong had correctly stated that the Statistics Department’s data for 2016 showed Penang's gross development product (GDP) per capita (ignoring Labuan and Putrajaya) to be the second highest in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur.

He however said Ong failed to mention that even in 2007, before DAP took over the state, Penang was already the second highest due to the previous Barisan Nasional’s policies in attracting electronics giant to set-up plants there — making Penang the third largest manufacturer and exporter of electronics in the world, earning the name "Silicon island".

Liang said the same data for 2007 showed the GDP per capita by state for Kuala Lumpur to be RM44,801 followed by Penang at RM31,039 and Selangor RM25,481.

“By 2016, Kuala Lumpur had reached RM101,420, Penang was still second at RM47,322 while Selangor had closed the gap with Penang and is now close behind at RM44,816.

“Penang's GDP per capita per year was 69.3 per cent or just RM13,762 less than Kuala Lumpur in 2007. Now, Penang is a staggering RM54,098 behind Kuala Lumpur and is just 46.7 per cent of Kuala Lumpur.

“This is because Penang had registered the third lowest GDP per capita growth from 2008 to 2016 among all 14 states,” he added.

Liang said it was generally known that property prices and cost of living in Penang was about the same as that in Kuala Lumpur, hence the much lower income in Penang as compared to Kuala Lumpur while having roughly the same cost, had led to many young Penangites to migrate and search for better paying jobs in Kuala Lumpur.

He noted that due to the fact that the Penang government and city councils imposed the highest amount of charges for developers, many new houses in Penang now cost more than in Kuala Lumpur, making them unaffordable for the locals.

“Recently, state Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo proudly announced that the first affordable housing project done by the state government, comprising of 520 units, would be completed by the end of this year for occupation in 2018.

“I wonder how proud can it be for a state government to openly admit that it will only deliver its first units (and only 520 units) after 10 years in power?” he asked.

Liang also added that Ong proudly stated that Penang had the fifth highest median and mean household income for 2016, behind KL, Selangor, Johor and Melaka.

“However, Ong did not state that before DAP took over, Penang had median and mean household income that was higher than Johor and Melaka — meaning both Johor and Melaka has overtaken Penang after DAP took over.

“He also did not mention that the 2016 mean household income also showed that Penang has now fallen below the national average — officially making Penang a below average mean household income state.

“He also did not tell you that Penang has lost the Number One spot for investments since 2011 and has been overtaken by other states for the past six years,” he stressed.

“While the Penang economy has under-performed the other states, the Penang government has actually far over-performed all other states when it comes to the yearly state operating expenses which has ballooned to 500 per cent of what it was in 2008 as the state government spends lavishly on overpriced highways, RM305mil in ‘studies’ and other projects,” he added.

 

Source: https://www.nst.com.my/news/politics/2017/10/290982/half-truths-and-propaganda-cannot-hide-penangs-problems-gerakan-tells

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