The Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) has turned around after eight years of deficits. It posted a surplus of RM14.6 million in 2009, after a marginal surplus in 2008 and deficits from 2000 to 2007 under BN rule.
Its actual income rose by 7.6 per cent to RM157.4 million in 2009 while its expenditure inched down by 0.3 per cent to RM142.8 million, giving a surplus of RM14.6 million (against a projected deficit of RM15.5 million). With this surplus, the Council’s reserves rose from RM29.1 million to RM43.7 million.
2000 – (5.1)
2001 – (31.2)
2002 – (36.7)
2003 – (39.0)
2004 – (48.9)
2005 – (57.1)
2006 – (5.4)
2007 – (5.1)
2008 – 3.0
2009 – 14.6
Well done to the new administration. It is not difficult to understand why the local government had been saddled with deficits and dwindling reserves previously. It embarked on a costly series of building and so-called ‘beautification’ projects: the building complex at the Butterworth padang, the forlorn fountain and rock garden next to the padang, the lavish MPSP office in Bandar Perda, the Batu Kawan Stadium (now a white elephant), the large MPSP court complex, the ornate lamp-posts (with hanging flower pots) in Butterworth, expensive floral decorations, the re-surfacing of pavements…
Moreover, the MPSP is believed to have spent a fortune in excessive rubbish disposal costs by external contractors.
And all the while, mainland Penang residents have had to put up with lousy drains with stagnant water, frequent flooding in some areas, dirty and polluted beaches and rivers, the loss of sporting and recreational spaces (access to the whole beach-front in Butterworth has been cut off by the Butterworth Outer Ring Road and the North Butterworth Container Terminal), and unresolved urban settlers’ issues. The quality of life has dropped; and all these issues need to be looked at.
This report from theSun:
Council records RM14.57mil in surplus
by Himanshu Bhatt
SEBERANG PERAI (April 11, 2010): The Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) has managed to chalk up a surplus of about RM14.57 million in 2009, following a series of deficits it had incurred under the Barisan Nasional government from 2000 to 2007.
Council president Mokhtar Mohd Jait today revealed a final accounting statement that showed the MPSP’s reserves soaring by more than 50%, from RM29.07 million in 2008 to RM43.67 million in 2009.
The RM14.57 million surplus compared well with the eight consecutive years of losses the council had experienced.
According to the accounting record, the council incurred losses worth RM5.06 million in 2000, and that rose steadily to RM39.04 million in 2003, peaking at RM57.08 million in 2005.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the council’s recovery was due to resourcefulness in collecting revenue and saving on costs.
“This has been a painful process, but now the council’s financial condition has been treated and it is well under recovery,” he said after a meeting of MPSP heads at its headquarters today.
In June last year the Pakatan Rakyat state government, which had taken power in March 2008, ordered MPSP to appoint an independent audit committee to look into losses worth RM230 million incurred from 2000 to 2007.
The team was to report its findings and recommendations to State Financial Officer Farizan Darus, who was the council’s previous president, for follow-up action.
Asked on the audit team’s findings, Lim said Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow would announce the matter later.
He said the MPSP would now go ahead with necessary expenditures worth almost RM5 million to increase its facilities, including special vehicles for cleaning and maintenance.
Lim also announced that applications for renovations to houses in Seberang Perai, if done according to the MPSP’s standard plan, will in the future take only 24 hours to be approved.
Applications for special renovations that have details not within the standard plan would take five weeks to approve, he said.
He pointed out that under the previous administration, applicants had to wait four to five months for approval.
The new time frame would be implemented once approved by the MPSP full-council meeting at the end of this month, he said. — theSun
Updated: 07:19PM Sun, 11 Apr 2010
That said, I hope the MPSP will carefully scrutinise all applications for renovations to ensure that setback and other requirements are strictly observed. It also has to be vigilant to ensure that contractors do not get too cosy with Council staff.
Another area that needs to be monitored is the conversion of residential houses to commercial units.
The other thing I would like to see is for both the MPPP and the MPSP to put their latest financial statements on their websites in the interests of transparency and accountability. (The MPPP has a breakdown of its income for 2007 and 2008 but not the financial statements.)