KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu government is hoping that the 25% reduction in the petroleum cash payments as settlements for its debts to the federal government will be reconsidered.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said it was to enable the state government to focus more on the needs of the people of Terengganu especially in facing the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have made an application to the Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) to consider the Cabinet’s decision to reduce the petroleum cash payments to the state as many agenda would be halted, what more with this Covid-19 situation that calls for extra attention to be given to the needs of the people,” he said when interviewed in Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme at Wisma Bernama in Kuala Lumpur, Thursday.
Ahmad Samsuri said the state government, which receives five per cent of petroleum cash from the federal government, had repaid its debt of approximately RM400 million through the deduction of the payments it received twice a year since May 2018.
“This has left us with only RM300 million in debt to the federal government and if it is repaid within the next two or two years, Terengganu will emerge as the only state in Malaysia with no debt owed to the federal government,” he said.
At the same time, Ahmad Samsuri admitted that the state government had anticipated a significant reduction in the payments from this year onwards following the drop in the global crude oil price.
“But we are hoping for more positive development in the third quarter of this year and that if we can get higher petroleum cash payments, then we can do something for Terengganu,” he said.
Last year, the state government received RM1.277 billion in petroleum cash payments from the federal government, which was paid in stages from January to September. – Bernama