The Menteri Besar of Perak, Dato’ Saarani Mohamad urged the state government to be more creative in searching for ways to increase funds, particularly while facing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
He admitted that the biggest challenge at hand is tax revenue collection for the year 2020 which was far different in comparison to the year before.
“I know I can’t carry it all by myself. I need support and motivation from all parties.
“We’ve lost around RM111.4 million due to the first Movement Control Order (MCO) enforcement which started on March 18 last year, as the state government’s sources of income were stuck.
“A lockdown entails a non-functioning logging industry, where no logs are cut down, exported or sent to wood factories. Even wood factories are closed.
“Also, there are no jobs. During a lockdown, quarries are closed. When quarries are closed, we’re unable to obtain docket fees, premiums and taxes,” he explained in an interview from a news portal today (February 15).
Meanwhile, Saarani mentioned that the state government account experienced a RM77-million deficit on December 31, 2020.
“This means that we owe RM77 million, whereas for the past 12 consecutive years, there would be a surplus, when looking at the account during the end of every year.
“It was why I asked for all of us to be more creative and innovative in finding ways to increase government funds during my recent Executive Talk, after realising that fact.
“There are many things to be done. Now, in the kampongs, there are ladies who sell pisang goreng (banana fritters), nasi lemak and roti canai by utilising digital marketing, smartphones, Facebook and WhatsApp.
“This is an exemplary feat by kampong residents. Thus, the government has to be creative also. We can’t give up. If we do, citizens will too,” he expressed.