Penang's chief minister gets new Merc - at a bargain

Penang's chief minister gets new Merc - at a bargain

GEORGE TOWN - The Mercedes-Benz S300L bought for Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was obtained at a bargain price - at just a little more than the amount paid for the earlier Mercedez Benz in 1995.

State Financial Officer Datuk Mokhtar Jait said the discount was given as the model was a 2012 version.

The car was delivered and used by Lim on Monday, who said the state government was willing to accept the public's response in view of the Federal Government's 11 cost-cutting measures for the public sector.

Lim said the car was value for money in the long-term due to its durability.

"The car does not belong to me. It belongs to the state government," he said yesterday.

Mokhtar said a collective decision was made to buy the car during the state exco meeting on Nov 20.

"The original price was RM657,218 (S$253,350). The car was tax-exempted and we were given a special discount of RM100,000," he told a press conference at E&O Hotel yesterday.

Mokhtar said the Toyota Camry 2.5 that was used by Lim would now be used by Deputy Speaker Maktar Shapee.

The Camry reportedly cost RM113,500 after tax exemption.

Mokhtar said Lim and the state exco members had earlier refused to buy 15 Mercedes cars as the taxes were higher than the cost of the cars.

He said after the 15 Toyota Camry cars were bought, Mercedes-Benz offered the S300L at RM298,263.75.

He added that the S320L model was also bought by former Penang chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon in 1995.

"It was then priced at RM271,331.22," he said.

DAP chairman and Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh said the purchase was "the most thoughtful New Year's gift" which Lim has earned.

"This is befitting the chief minister's dignity and status. No one should begrudge him this privilege," he said in a statement.

He said Lim had earned it, having helped Penang to grow by leaps and bounds since 2008.

"The original car price would certainly have been unjustified," Karpal said.

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