Penang CM Lim Guan Eng seen here arriving at Bintulu Airport. Guan Eng often fly on budget airline and has minimum staffs on his entourage

From March 2008 to March 2011, the state government has spent a total of RM1.212 million on official trips overseas the Sun Daily reported.

Out of the amount, RM146,284 was for 20 of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s official trips while the remaining was for 123 trips involving the Deputy Chief Minister and excos.

Lim (DAP-Air Putih) revealed this at the State Legislative Assembly sitting today to a question by Maktar Shapee (PKR-Sungai Bakap) asking the state to compare travelling expenses incurred by the Chief Minister and the excos of the current and previous administrations.

On travelling expenses incurred by the previous administration, Lim said a total of RM149,326 was spent by then Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon for 10 official visits while RM782,988 was spent on 56 official trips by his deputy and excos.

He said, when compared, the average cost for the current and previous Chief Ministers were RM14,932.60 for the previous one and RM7,314.20 for the current one.

The average cost for all the trips when compared was RM14,125 for the previous administration while it was RM8,482 for the current state government.

The assembly also heard the state government table a deficit budget for next year.

CM Guan Eng having breakfast in a regular kopitiam shop with several of his party members in Bintulu recently.

Projected revenues for next year was RM385.89 million whereas the expenditure was expected to be RM599.60 million.

He said the deficit for 2012 was reduced to RM105.93 million, compared to this year’s budget RM107.78 million.

Lim said that continued allocation for social programmes like Senior Citizens Appreciation Scheme, Golden Child Programme, contributions to schools and subsidies to maintain public housing units contributed to the deficit budget

“However as a government with the people at its heart, the state government will continue with these social programmes,” he added.

Lim also said the state government had pared its debts to RM29.66 million at present, from RM630.13 million recorded in March 2008.

“Penang has recorded a reduction by RM600.47 million or 95.29% of debts in these three and a half years which is the best record in Malaysia,” he said when reading the budget themed ‘Dignifying the People, Business Friendly and Strengthening Financial Position’.

State Speaker Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain when wishing Deepavali greetings announced that assembly would resume on Oct 30.