KOTA BARU: The payment of ‘wang ihsan’ (compassionate fund) by the Federal Government for the first time since it was introduced in 2010, will be channelled directly into Kelantan state government’s coffers.
Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah (pix) said prior to this, the money would be transferred directly The Kelantan Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIK) and Kelantan Federal Development Department (JPP).
“For this year, we have received the fund three times from the federal government, amounting to RM 28 million,” he told reporters when met at Kota Darul Naim Complex here, today.
Commenting on Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s statement today that he did not want to argue with Kelantan Mentri Besar Ahmad Yakob on the terms used in the oil royalty payment, Amar explained the Federal Government has used the term of ‘wang ihsan’ in the correspondence between both governments before this.
“The term ‘wang ihsan’ had been used in correspondence since the time of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government. In the Finance Ministry letter, also mentioned the term, so how can we change the (compassionate fund payment) term to the oil royalty payment because it is the right of the people of Kelantan,” he said.
Asked when was the last discussion held between the state government and the federal government over the oil royalty payment, Amar said it took place early this year when the latter asked the Kelantan government to withdraw the previously filed suit.
“After that, there was no discussion (on the royalty payment). The Federal Government should have kept their promise after it was also decided by the National Finance Council.
“Any decision (in connection with the oil royalty payments) prior to this, was nullified after it was decided by the Council. So, the Federal government did not respect the agreement and the decision made by the Council.
“It looks like the Finance Minister did not comply. Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) said something else (but) Finance Minister says otherwise,” he said.
Yesterday, Lim was reported as saying that the oil royalty payment was made last month under Mahathir’s directive.
However, Ahmad, today said that Kelantan only received a ‘compassionate fund’ on Sept 17 from the Federal Government and was not royalty payment. — Bernama