Which state government and local authority will be first to reduce assessment rate to help ratepayers in the midst of the worst economic crisis in nationís history?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday):  Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh said in Malacca yesterday that state governments have agreed to postpone the proposed increase in assessment by the local governments due to the current economic downturn.

He said the postponement would be effective until the recovery of the economy and to ensure that the people were not burdened. He claims that the agreement to defer the increase is an example of the caring concept practised by the Government.

Dr. Tingís announcement is no great news as it defies imagination and logic as well as being a scandal of the first magnitude for any local government to propose to increase house assessments when the property market has collapsed - the latest casualty of a worsening economic crisis for 14 months - with vacant properties and drastic fall in rentals and property prices all over the country.

In fact, if the government is serious about its "caring concept" and want to relieve the hardships and burdens of the people wrought by the worsening economic crisis, the various local government authorities should be reducing the assessment rates!

Which State Government and which local government authority will take the lead to reduce assessment rates to help the ratepayers in the face of the worst economic crisis in the nationís history?

In any event, I am very disappointed by Dr. Tingís announcement, for there is no promise or indication that the State Governments would implement the National Economic Action Councilís recommendation in the National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP)  that local authorities  give a rebate on sewerage costs to ratepayers  from  the assessment rates.

Dr. Ting should explain why the State Governments have not adopted and implemented the NERP recommendation to give a rebate on sewerage costs to ratepayers from the assessment rates as the IWK has taken over the services.

The NERP made three recommendations in connection with the nation-wide complaints by the people about the Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) services and charges, and one of its recommendations was to echo the complaint of all ratepayers that "Customers do not want to pay twice for the same service" and that "Local authorities need to give a rebate on sewerage costs to consumers from assessment rates once IWK takes over the services".

The other two recommendations of the NEAC on IWK sewerage services and charges are:

In line with the recommendation of the NEAC, IWK should review and reduce its sewerage charges, which should have full retrospective effect, as the price of the public utility has increased considerably following the transfer of the service from the Government to the private sector.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong