KOTA BARU, 29 Oct 2008: The Kelantan state assembly was told today that the state government had paid RM204 million in debts to the federal government since 1990.
State economic planning, finance and welfare committee chairperson Datuk Husam Musa said when PAS took over Kelantan’s administration in 1990, the amount owed by the state then was RM718 million.
“The state government pays about RM11 million in debts every year and now the balance of the debts is RM514 million only,” he said in response to an oral question from Datuk Noor Zahidi Omar (BN-Pengkalan Kubor) today.
On the debts owed by state statutory bodies, Husam said, the current amount was RM208 million, from RM572 million in 1990.
He said the debts owed by the state government did not include the RM331 million loan for water supply.
Husam also told the state assembly that the federal government had allowed the state government to reschedule the loan repayments.
To a question by state opposition leader Datuk Md Alwi Che Ahmad (BN-Kok Lanas), Husam said that according to the Statistics Department, there were 3,864 hardcore poor people in Kelantan.
He added, however, that the number could be higher due to the current high cost of living.
Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob said a special mechanism, which took into account a study by the state economic planning unit, was used in the selection of participants for Ladang Rakyat, a programme aimed at eliminating hardcore poverty.
The participants were given monthly dividends of RM200 each, he said to a question from Md Alwi.
Md Alwi said the Ladang Rakyat programme involved 4,810 participants, which was not in tandem with the Statistics Department figure on hardcore poor.
The state assembly was also told that more Malay parents in Kelantan were sending their children to Chinese medium schools.
State Islamic development, education and dakwah committee chairperson Nik Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, who regarded the trend as good for racial integration, said there were 1,183 Malay students in Chinese schools as of August 2008, from 1,014 students in 2006 and 1,107 in 2007.
On another matter, Husam said the state government had only received an application from Syarikat Trans Nusantara Petroleum to build gas pipelines from Bagan Serai in Perak to Bachok.
Based on a briefing that was given, the company was keen to make Jeli and Bachok its gas terminals, he said to a question by Abdullah Ya’kub (PAS-Air Lanas).
However, Husam said the state government was still studying the company’s application. — Bernama