KLANG residents are happy that the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) has no plans to raise assessment tax next year while others are glad that the municipality has become transparent in how it used public funds.
On seeing MPK president Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin’s budget figures for 2018 published in StarMetro, social activist Peter Tan said being transparent in spending bolstered public confidence.
“Being transparent in government spending at the local council level will help keep corruption in check,” he said, adding that keeping ratepayers informed on MPK’s financial management would promote financial accountability.
In a StarMetro report on Oct 21, Mohamad Yasid disclosed the council’s proposed RM230mil expenditure plan for next year.
He assured ratepayers that there were no plans to raise assessment tax fees and the council would instead use revenue collected from licensing and development projects to provide public services and facilities.
The proposed 2018 budget at RM230.4mil would see a deficit of an estimated RM17mil where expenditure was expected to be at RM248mil.
Real estate dealer Serjeet Singh said with the rising cost of living, it was only right for MPK not to raise the assessment rates but to be innovative in generating revenue.
“Old parts of Port Klang need redevelopment. Pre-war shop lots in dilapidated conditions for over a decade should be acquired and the council could initiate an urban renewal development.
“Such projects will inject new life to the area and bring much more revenue to the municipality,” he said.
Selangor School Sports Council’s technical and development hockey and coaching chairman Mohd Azlan Aziz urged MPK to create a link on its official website where the 2018 budget could be posted for public to view.
“It would be good to have online postings of council expenditures, as it will make it easier for residents to follow the local government spending.
“It will create a check and balance mechanism. At the same time residents can provide constructive views and suggestions,” he added.
Mohd Azlan urged the council to allocate a budget to improve outdoor sports equipment at public fields.
“We understand that MPK has allocated an estimated RM15mil in the budget for recreational amenities. It will be good to have more quality outdoor exercise machines for sportsmen and even senior citizens to use,” he said.
He said as each upgrading project were carried out at parks, the council should provide the details online to receive public feedback.
Serjeet added that other than being transparent with the budget online, MPK must go one step forward to constructively engage Residents Associations (RA), Rukun Tetangga (RT) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for discussions on the budget before it is firmed up.
“It is not too late, MPK can organise special sessions with the RA, RT and NGOs for input and constructive debates about how the resources are allocated, which will lead to greater effectiveness,” he said.
Tan, who supported Serjeet’s view, suggested for a town hall meeting on the budget.