Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (centre) says state is likely to record a budget deficit this year due to the floods. Pic by MUHAMMAD MIKAIL ONG.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang is expected to experience a budget deficit at the end of the year despite constantly boasting about achieving a surplus at the end of each financial year.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on Tuesday said the state was likely to record a budget deficit this year due to damages suffered from two massive floods in the state.

"We expected to record a RM667 million deficit for this year (according to the Budget 2017 tabled last year). Before the flood incidents, we were well on our way to achieve a budget surplus again for this year.

"Due to the damages from flood...it will be difficult for us," he told newsmen on the sidelines of the state legislative assembly sitting here.

For the Sept 15 flood, the Penang government announced a one-off RM400 assistance for more than 7,000 flood victims.

Recently, the state government again announced a one-off RM500 per household for 100,000 victims affected by the major floods on Nov 4, which was part of its RM100 million allocation for the 'Pulau Pinang Bangkit' programme.

Numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have also came forward and made donations to the floods victims.

So far, a total of RM9.6 million has been received by the state treasurer.

Lim said that the money would be used to give an additional RM200, on top of the RM500 allocated for each household.

"This means that Penangites will get a total of RM700 per household.

"This involves RM20 million funding. The state government will add-on the remaining money from the donations received, if needed," he said.

Forms will be distributed to the flood victims from Nov 20 onwards.

Earlier, during his winding-up speech, Lim clarified that the discount on water bills for commercial users will be 25 per cent for two months, which will involve two cycles, instead of one, as announced earlier.

"The total funds allocated for the Pulau Pinang Bangkit programme is RM105 million and not RM100 million as announced previously."

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