Rate hikes causing major
The Sun 14/1/2006
IN RECENT WEEKS, 'the 'Selangor Gerakan Youth headquarters has been
inundated with many complaints from residents allover the country on the
manner local councils had raised the quit rent and assessment rates and the
extraordinary high percentage increase of the rates.
Most of the disgruntled callers were from areas under the jurisdiction of
the Kuala Muda District Council, Sungai Petani Town Council, Kuala Lumpur
City Hall, Petaling Jaya Town Council, the Selayang Municpal Council,
Malacca City Hall and even from as far south as Johor.
In the cases involving residents of Sungai Petani, many were not even aware
of any increase until they went to make payment at the Land Office.
Many of those who did not bring extra money had to return home and queue up
again on another day; they claim that not only were they not notified but
the increase of between 100% and 257% does not make any sense.
A fisherman from Kuala Muda narrated that it was a burden for him as it was
only last year that his family had to go through hardships, no thanks to the
tsunami that hit the northern coast.
This year; the local government is adding to his burden by the increased
What irks him more was that he had to take a bus and taxi to come all the
way to town to make 'payment only to have to go back as he did not bring
It will cost more now as not only has he to pay for trips to and from town
but he has to forgo another day of fishing to come again.
He laments that fishermen like him who live along the coastal areas cannot
afford all this hassle and extra expenditure. The money would and could be
put for better use for his family.
Another resident from Pekan Lama, Sungai Petani, claims that his previous
assessment was only RM40 annually, but it was increased to RM100, which is a
There is no major development in his area nor is there any renovations made
to his home, so he cannot fathom why they are such a huge increase.
Complaints to the Land Office only fell on deaf ears.
This increase will make a dent to his already meager pensioner's income. And
to add insult to injury the services by the council thus far is nothing to
shout about and does not justify such huge increases.
Many a time, too, the complainant had to make countless phone calls to the
council to remind them to cut the grass or clear the drains.
He angrily said that maybe it is about time he starts charging the council
for the calls made.
If indeed all the above allegations are true, then Gerakan Youth believe
something in must be terribly wrong in the way the above town council went
about increasing title rates.
Residents from Selayang who called the Gerakan Youth office said their rate
hike was between 50% and 200%.
They are confused as to why there is such a big jump as they were initially
informed by the councilors that any increase, if there was, would not exceed
10%. This sudden increase is both puzzling and a burden.
Like their brethren in Malacca, all the above complainants want either the
mentris besar or the federal government to intervene and investigate whether
the hikes in assessment rates were according to procedures and ensure that
no mistakes were made.
The people want to know whether such hikes in the present trying times are
Chief Minister of Malacca Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has admitted that the
increases in rates for certain areas in Malacca were wrongly computed by
staffs that were not good in their maths.
Some could be due to technical errors. If this is the case, there is a
possibility the same mistakes are being made by other councils, too.
Most of the complainants are also angry that politicians are silent and are
not voicing their constituents' grievances.
Some even went on to indirectly threaten in their complaints that they would
use their voting power to effect changes.
Selangor Gerakan Youth fears such remarks may be detrimental if the
discontent is more wide-spread.
Though the increase in Petaling Jaya is not as high as those from the rural
areas, nonetheless, these urban middle class residents have already started
a signature campaign with the aim to lower or defer the increase in their
Not many of the home and land owners in the smaller towns or rural districts
are willing or able to take such action, but it does not mean they agree to
the exorbitant hikes.
The minister for the local government and housing should look into their
grouses and be the voice of these people.
The rise of the price of petroleum and cooking gas has already caused a dent
in most household budgets.
Parents with school-going children are already burdened with fee and book
Thus, the exorbitant rates imposed do not augur well among the people
Delren Terrence Douglas