Vivien Tan Lee Ching, 52, who owns a property in Balik Pulau, said she received a notice of RM428.40 to be paid in 2020.
“My annual payment is RM279 and this is certainly a steep hike as my property value has increased.
“I will definitely appeal before the Oct 14 deadline as I think the government should not increase the rates,” she fumed.
Another retiree who wanted to be known only as Ivy, 58, also took the state government to task.
“I just got my assessment notice today and it went up from RM6,130 to RM11,840 which is a substantial amount.
“Even with assessment rate dropping from 8.5% to 5.8%, I still have to pay an additional 30% increase in assessment which comes to RM686.72 from RM521 previously.
“In the past, they used to hold public hearings to hear objections before the revaluation exercise gets underway. So far, we are told to write in our objection, with not much publicity given,” she said.
V. Madhavan, 42, an architect who owns a RM500,000 condominium in Bayan Baru, said he was more lucky as his new amount increased by RM50 only.
“I have been paying RM320 a year and now, it will be RM370,” he said.
On Sept 12, state local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh had announced the hike as the present rates had been in place since 2005.
He said the hike would bring in revenue of RM54.39mil for Penang Island City Council and RM39.74mil for Seberang Prai City Council.
Penang Consumers Protection Association president Datuk Koris Atan said while he supported the move by the council, the rates should be lower for affordable homes.
“We understand the government needs the higher revenue to carry out projects as the last hike was some time ago,” he said.
Former councillor Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng said it was acceptable for the councils to raise the assessment rates so long as the money is well spent.
“A revaluation of properties will have to be done after some time and people would generally accept it,” said Dr Chin who was instrumental in working out assessment rates when he was a councillor in the 80s.
“However, the councils must be prudent in their spending and it would be best for them to show to the people where the extra income is going.
“Some resentment will always be there but most people would accept the hike as they know there is a need for the revaluation.
“The issue is rental income has not increased in tandem with the increase in property prices, and it is something the government must look into when increasing the assessment rates,” he said.
Dr Chin said any excess money derived from the assessment should go towards the benefit of the ratepayers.
In Seberang Prai, the majority of ratepayers also opposed the proposed hike which they described as unnecessary.
Pensioner Kamariah Halim, said the hike was too high and inappropriate, especially during challenging times at present.
“We understand with Seberang Prai being elevated to city status, but it is still too much,” she said.
“Pakatan Harapan promised to take care of the well-being of the people in their manifesto.
“Increasing the assessment rates is not a move that is caring for our well-being,” the 60-year-old grandmother said.
Another ratepayer Derrick Heng also described the increase as mind-boggling.
“What is the state government trying to do? Increasing the rates will not help alleviate the people’s sufferings in this current economic downturn,” he said.
Meanwhile, P. Anbalagan, 45, has a different view on the new proposal in Penang.
“If the service is good , I don’t mind it.
“But the local authorities must improve their services to the people first,” he said.
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