Occupants of Mentari Court were bewildered when they opened their doors to personnel from the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).
Unknown to them, their landlords had not been paying assessment tax for years.
The tenants could only watch helplessly as MBPJ confiscated items from their units during its ongoing operation against ratepayers who failed to pay assessment tax for more than two years.
During the operation at the apartment in Jalan PJS 8/9 yesterday, MBPJ enforcement officers came prepared to confiscate goods from 90 units owned by those who owed RM151,513 in overdue taxes for the first half of this year.
MBPJ Finance Department deputy director Nik Nazli Nik Abdullah, who led six groups of 15 officers each in the operation, said it was the first time they had conducted the exercise in Mentari Court.
Nik Nazli explained that there were several stages before such action was taken.
“The owners would first be given notices to remind them to settle their payment before the deadline given.
“We send four of these notices a year,” she said when met during the operation.
First, a red notice will be sent, either by hand or posted on the apartment door.
Later, unit heads will make house-to-house visits to convince the taxpayers or a credit management company would be assigned to collect payment.
“The last resort would be enforcement action, where our officers will seize the taxpayers’ assets, such as electronic goods or furnishing.
“We will confiscate assets if they have not paid for more than five years or owe more than RM2,000.
“The confiscated goods will be auctioned within a week if the owners do not pay their arrears and claim their belongings,” she said.
Among the goods seized during the operation at Mentari Court were a washing machine, television sets and WiFi routers.
Nik Nazli said 11,219 housing units in Petaling Jaya had not paid their assessment taxes totalling RM20mil for the first half of 2017.
“There have been over 70,000 cases of unpaid taxes totalling RM88mil over the past 10 years.
“Although the state has waived the assessment tax for low-cost properties for two years, our operation focuses on arrears that were accumulated over a long period,” she said.
MBPJ assistant accountant Zey Iskandar Mohd Jalil added that MBPJ started the enforcement operation last week in Bukit Utama and Pelangi Damansara.
He said the enforcement team would seize items that cost more than the arrears owed, to ensure the money obtained from the auction would be sufficient to cover the amount.
The operation and legal action is being carried out under Section 148 of the Local Government Act 1976, he added.