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The Penang government has recently announced that property assessment fees, which have not been changed since 2005, will be increased. The increase was to be put in place to help fund the council’s projects in the future.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is however of a different opinion, as according to the president of Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), Mohideen Abdul Kader, half the country’s working population is earning less than RM2,000 a month.

He has hence suggested a different solution — slapping higher assessment rates on empty homes.

Mohideen is of the opinion that the government should have lower assessment rates for owner-occupied units. In fact, it is said that the “owner-occupied concession” practice was in place until about 2 decades ago.

According to Mohideen, if the assessment rates are kept low on owner-occupied units, it would encourage the owners of the units to keep the rental rates low and ensure that their property is rented out.

Mohideen also brought up various concerns related to the increased assessment fees, including the poor collection system by the Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) and Penang Island City Council (MBPP). According to him, the total assessment fees owed to MBPP as of 1H2019 is RM58.3 million.

Another concern that was brought up is the council’s projects includes the amount of money being spent on projects. This includes the RM30 million underpass from Mount Erskine to Burmah Road and the upcoming projects in 2020 and 2021. In these upcoming two years, there are to be 46 projects built by MBSP costing RM169.74 million, and 31 projects by MBPP costing RM179.03 million.

According to Mohideen, “The local councils do not need to spend RM348.77 million on projects not needed at the expense of ratepayers, particularly those in the B40 category.”

(8 October 2019)