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Govt nearly ran out of money under BN, says finance minister

January 10, 2019

Lim Guan Eng addresses a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Putrajaya January 8, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 8 — Lim Guan Eng today disclosed that the federal government was just over a month shy of running out of funds when its accounts were closed on November 15, 2017 by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.

The finance minister said the move to close the government’s accounts early to cut its spending was “unprofessional”.

“The reason I was told why they had closed it earlier is to make sure they keep it within deficit budget. If they continued, they will run out of funds.

“This is an unprofessional method of cutting down as the whole government would grind to a stop,” he told a press conference at the Finance Ministry here.

Touting the Pakatan Harapan administration’s success in managing its finances, he said it was able to finalise its 2018 federal accounts by Dec 21.

“For the first time, we had closed the accounts on December 21 and we hope we can extend it further in the future. At least there were only 10 days until the new year.

“Thankfully, we had no deficit and this shows good financial management that is healthy and acceptable by international accounting principle,” he told a press conference after delivering allocations from Prime Minister’s Department to registered “sekolah pondok” in the country.

Lim also said this was the first time the government has disbursed allocations announced in the federal budget as a lump-sum payment, noting that the BN administration used to dole these out in stages.

He said the move was to allow Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who was present at the cheque handover ceremony, to implement the necessary programmes for “sekolah pondok” nationwide.

“We should be able to give out the allocated budget early and in a lump sum so that the minister can do better and holistic planning. This is why we use the new mechanism,” he said.

When asked about allocations for other schools, Lim said his ministry will do its best to follow suit.

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