SEREMBAN, Aug 9 — A motion has been tabled in the Negri Sembilan Legislative Assembly to freeze any increase in tax, rent, charge and payment rates under the state and local authorities until inflation can be controlled.

When tabling the motion, Chennah assemblyman Anthony Loke Siew Foke said the move was to help reduce the expenses of the people who were already burdened by the increase in the prices of goods.

“This includes assessment rates, quit rent and house rent. The impact of inflation and the rising cost of living is not only felt by our country but the whole world.

“Besides, most countries have just recovered from Covid-19 after more than two years,” he said during the Second Meeting of the Fifth Session of the 14th State Assembly today.

Loke, who is also Seremban Member of Parliament, said government departments also need to be optimised to cooperate with elected representatives’ service centres regardless of their political party.

“The state Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry can negotiate with wholesalers to get goods in bulk at a low price and sell them at a lower price in addition to subsidies from elected representatives to help the community,” he said.

Apart from that, Loke said the state government needs to set up a task force to deal with the flood problem in collaboration with the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage so as not to put pressure on the people.

“Flash floods also contribute to the increase in the cost of living for the people. When their belongings and houses were damaged following floods, they have to buy new ones for which these unexpected expenses are not in their budget,” he said.

Datuk L Manickam (BN-Jeram Padang) shared the same sentiment, saying the state government needs to avoid bureaucracy in matters involving the people, including expediting the approval of licences for traders and channelling aid to schools and non-governmental organisations.

Meanwhile, Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohd Redza (BN-Linggi) suggested that the state government, through Syarikat Air Negri Sembilan (SAINS), be more tolerant with consumers who have outstanding water bills, such as giving them instalment options or a time frame to make full payment.

In addition, Yap Yew Weng (PH-Mambau) said there were residents in his constituency who had to throng shops to buy cheap goods, and some of them even asked for financial assistance to pay house rent.

“Almost every month, the people ask for food baskets. The state government needs to find the best approach to help the people,” he said.

The sitting continues tomorrow. — Bernama