The Penang state government has received praise in the auditor general's 2008 report for its cost-cutting measures and prudent ways, which have resulted in the state's consolidated funds increasing 21.1% (RM178.45 million) from RM847.45 million in 2007 to RM1.02 billion in 2008.
The report says the state's expenditure was reduced by RM35.41 million or by 11.1% due to its cost-cutting measures and priority being given to spending on the people or for people-centric programmes.
The report lists the reasons for the reduction in expenses, which included only filling up critical vacancies, reduction in hotel expenses for seminars, courses and workshops, and also using cheaper air travel and government vehicles as modes of transportation for functions.
Other reductions in expenses include the freeze on new asset purchases and other uncommitted expenditure.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, an accountant by training said it was the first time that the state's consolidated funds reached above the RM1 billion mark.
The auditor general's report also named two state-owned agencies - the Penang Development Corp and the state financial department - as those among 16 agencies/departments in the country with a four star-listing for achieving above 90% in their financial management.
Credit should be given where it is due. Penang is a shining example of prudent financial management. Here is something the BN federal government can learn from Penang.