KL-ites urged to speak up ahead of property tax hike

DAP rep Teresa Kok urged KL property owners to make their voices be heard as assessment rates in the city face a large, and for some, alarming rise.— Picture by Saw Siow Feng
DAP rep Teresa Kok urged KL property owners to make their voices be heard as assessment rates in the city face a large, and for some, alarming rise.— Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Inevitable as it seems, city dwellers must continue to maintain pressure against the Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) plan that will effectively raise the annual assessment tax even as it increases the value of their properties, DAP MP Teresa Kok said today.

Kok repeated her suggestion to lower the tax rate, saying that it now appeared to be an inevitable move for Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor in the face of increasing unhappiness among property owners here against DBKL’s plans.

“In view of the fact that there have been widespread and strong objections to the unjustifiable hike in assessment rates, I believe that a downward revision is no longer an option but a must for him,” the Seputeh MP said in a statement.

According to Kok, she had previously said that Tengku Adnan must be ready to use his powers to cut the tax rate or percentage rate imposed on properties, saying that the move would then see property owners paying the same amount for their annual property assessment.

She explained that the annual assessment amount was based on the tax percentage imposed on the property’s annual rental value.

If the current tax percentage of 6 per cent for residential properties and 12 per cent for commerical properties are reduced, it would help compensate for the corresponding rise of the property’s yearly rental value when owners pay DBKL’s assessment rate, she said.

“Hence, it is clear that even if a property revaluation exercise causes the annual value of a property to rise steeply, it does not mean that the assessment rate must go up or must go up exorbitantly,” the DAP vice-chairman said.

“Let there be hundreds of thousands of objection letters submitted to the City Hall. Let the massive objections also be a form of pressure to the Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan to come out with an acceptable solution,” she concluded, having noted that the deadline for their written objections to DBKL is December 17.

The impending hike has provoked much concern among city residents.

During her safety awareness walkabout at the Taman Sentosa wet market this morning, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar was repeatedly stopped by shoppers and traders who plied her with questions on the workings of the property tax.

In a separate news conference today, Kok’s DAP colleague Lim Lip Eng said DBKL should engage professionals to evaluate the annual rental value of properties instead of resorting to “unprofessional” methods, such as posing as prospective tenants and calling up real estate agents.

The Segambut MP had pointed to two conflicting notices issued to a factory owner in Kepong, where the proposed annual value starting from next year represented a hike of over 880 per cent in one instance.

Lim claimed that many property owners in the city, especially the older groups, currently have little income or are surviving on pensions, insisting that no hike in assessment rates should be carried out until Malaysia achieves high-income nation status.

On November 20, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers demanded for Tengku Adnan to rescind notices of increased assessment of between 100 and 250 per cent for Kuala Lumpur properties until these are justified in full by the City Hall here.

The hike in assessment rates will take place next January and is expected to help DBKL rake in an additional RM400 million yearly, with Tengku Adnan saying on Thursday that it will be used to upgrade public parks, roads and markets in the city.

The assessment rate hike would reflect the value of properties in Kuala Lumpur, Tengku Adnan reportedly said today, claiming that such a move would aid property owners who wanted to sell or rent their properties.

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