SELANGOR Mentri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali has said that state executive councillor for local government Ean Yong Hian Wah has been tasked with reviewing the business licence fee hike issue.
“The first week I took office, I met up with both Yong and his predecessor Datuk Teng Chang Khim, to get the latter’s views on the issue,” Azmin said recently.
The Mentri Besar, who was on a site visit at the Jalan Tanjung closure off the Sprint Highway, said the review committee would look into lowering the rate of increase and present it to the exco.
Added to this problem faced by traders, an official letter dated Oct 29 was sent out to Selangor’s local councils by the State Economic Planning Unit’s (UPEN) Local Government Section on the matter.
The letter, sighted by StarMetro, states that councils that have implemented the new rates can continue using those first, while those which have not are requested to continue with the 1987 rates.
In the meantime, deposits for “high-risk” businesses, such as massage parlours, cyber-cafes or scrap metal recycling will be based on whether the council has implemented the 2007 rates or not.
Yong, when contacted, said this was a temporary measure while in the process of reviewing and working a more reasonable license fee rate.
“At best, the streamlined and lowered fee rates will be implemented in 2015, for those renewing their business licenses in 2016.
“Therefore, the Oct 29 circular is being issued as a temporary measure first to give the local councils time to revise and implement their new rates into their systems,” said Yong.
Some councillors, including Selayang Municipal Council’s (MPS) Lim Ching How, Yew Jia Haur and Ng Wei Keong, urged objecting business owners in their municipality to pay the revised rates first, before appealing to the council’s Licensing Fee Appeal Committee.
In a press conference on Oct 25, Lim said the new rates that were to be imposed in a second-stage process by MPS would increase by 150% to 200%.
“During a meeting with MPS president Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain and Yong on Oct 24, it was announced that there will be amendments to the 2007 by-law, which is set to take effect on Jan 1, 2015,” he added.
Selangor’s local councils were afforded their own discretion in implementing the fee hike, which was gazetted under the Trade Licence, Businesses and Industries Bylaw enacted in 2007.
MPS recently began sending notices to current business owners on the fee hike as part of the council’s own two-phased fee hike exercise.
According to the new bylaw, a business licence is not only charged on the business premises’ size and type of business activity, but also for other activities such as storage, processing and retail.