GEORGE TOWN, Sept 13 — The Penang state government must reconsider its decision to review the assessment rates of all properties in the state, Penang Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong said.
“The state government can’t increase the total assessment rates just because the two local councils are having deficit budgets, it is not right,” he told Malay Mail today.
He said the people should not be penalised with increases in assessment rates that will be between 40 to 55 per cent higher than this year.
“We have received numerous complaints from property owners on the sudden increase in total assessment rates they had to pay, some had to pay even more than 60 per cent higher than this year,” he said.
He showed the new assessment rate notice he received for his apartment on the island in which he paid RM340.38 this year but next year, he would have to pay RM531.
The annual value for his property had more than doubled from RM3,600 this year to RM8,850 next year but the annual percentage rate had decreased from 9.3 per cent to six per cent.
The annual value, as stipulated under Section 2 of the Local Government Act 1976, is the estimated gross annual rent while the percentage rate is fixed annually by the council according to its financial needs.
“The percentage rate may have dropped but they increased the annual value, at more than double the original value, so naturally the total amount we had to pay the council will increase too,” Oh said.
Oh said another homeowner’s notice showed that his annual value increased from RM20,010 to RM30,020, the percentage rate decreased from 11.55 per cent to nine per cent but the amount he had to pay increased from RM2,311.16 to RM2,701.80.
“The Penang state government has always prided itself of recording surpluses each year and very good at managing its finances, so why is it now burdening the people?” he asked.
He pointed out that the state even bought new cars for the state exco and some of the state excos often go overseas without bringing back anything concrete.
“Everyone can see they have been spending the state’s money freely and now they are burdening the people by increasing the assessment, it is not fair to the people,” he said.
He added that all categories of properties are affected by this, including those in the lower income group as low-cost and low-medium-cost housing will also see an increase in the rates.
Oh, who is also Gerakan vice president, said the state government should be cutting its expenditure instead of putting the burden on the people.
Earlier today, state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo said the assessment rates for all properties in the state, under both Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP), will be reviewed with increases that could go into a few thousands depending on the size, location and property type.
The Penang lawmaker did not divulge the percentage of increases despite being asked for a rough estimate of the increases but stressed that there was no single standard rate as each property was rated differently.