Malaysian homeowners want justification for increased rates

PHOTO: Malaysian homeowners want justification for increased rates

KUALA LUMPUR - Shocking! That sums up the sentiments of the public on the proposed 200 per cent increase in assessment rates for Kuala Lumpur house owners.

City folk appalled by the reasoning given by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor that it was in line with the increase in property value, are demanding for better justification for the increase.

Real Estate agent S. Shamini, 40 said: "Where is the justification for this? Has Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) services improved?

"The roads in front of my house in Kuchai Lama are riddled with potholes and when patched up following complaints, the work is shoddy,'' she added.

"Traffic congestion has also become worse and all the trees in my neighbourhood have been cut for development, with no parks here at all, she said.

Bangsar resident Ho Ah Chai said the increase is unjustifiable.

"With the increase in petrol prices and proposed increase in electricity tariff, the people are being burdened,'' he said.

He said instead of burdening the public with taxes, DBKL should tighten its belt and curb wastage.

"Instead of taxing the people, perhaps the Government should cut down on the number of civil servants and come up with some sensible solutions to cut wastage,'' said Prem Kumar from Cheras.

A long-time resident of Bukit Bandaraya, Datuk Mumtaz Ali, said City Hall's assessment increase cannot be justified or accepted.

"I bought my property in Bangsar to live in, not invest,'' Mumtaz said. "To say that the increase is because the value of houses have increased is not logical,'' she said.

IT specialist C.S. Tan, 50, described the increase as ridiculous.

"The sudden hike in assessment rates will result in a spiral effect which will push up the rental rates.

"That means no one can afford to buy or even rent houses and apartments anymore,'' said the Kepong resident.

Residents are also asking why City Hall had not announced this earlier and or held a townhall meeting or dialogue session with them.

Many have already received notices from City Hall informing them of the proposed hike and were given less than a month to object.

Titiwangsa MP Datuk Johari Ghani said City Hall must justify the increase as it was drastic.

"Take Kampung Baru for instance, some home owners have told me that their assessment rates have doubled and even tripled.

"I don't understand why, since Kampung Baru 50 years ago and today is still the same,'' he said.

Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun said that residents in old neighbourhoods like Taman Seputeh could not afford the high assessment rates as the house owners are mostly retirees.