Monday, December 2, 2013

Poor city folk against rate hike

TOO MUCH: Low-income earners, retirees and those without stable incomes are concerned that they won’t be able to pay their assessment come Jan 1
KUALA LUMPUR: THE proposed increase in the assessment rate has  low-income salary earners, retirees and those without  stable incomes worried that they may not be able to afford to pay their assessments  come Jan 1.
About 200 Taman Sri Segambut residents who are unhappy with the steep hike recently recorded their objections at the night market in their neighbourhood.
Pensioner Kernial Singh, 61, said he was shocked to receive a notice which stated that the valuation for his property was RM14,400. He figured that the new assessment rate would be around RM880.
"I am working at a security firm and I only get paid about RM1,000 per month. I urge City Hall to reevaluate the proposed hike and consider the plight of low-income earners," he said.
Pensioner Kamal Abu Bakar, 65, said City Hall could increase the fees in line with the rise in property values but it must be reasonable.
"We have to bear with the high cost of living in the city, especially after the fuel and sugar subsidy cuts," said Kamal, who has been living in Segambut for about 50 years.
Segambut member of parliament Lim Lip Eng said more than 1,200 people in Segambut constituency had recorded their objections to the hike.
"We will hold a peaceful rally to protest against the assessment hike in front of City Hall on Dec 16 at 11am," said Lim.
More than 100 residents from the Mutiara Magna low-cost flats in Taman Metro Prima Kepong also signed a petition against the hike.
Residents felt that City Hall had not take into account the hardship that would be faced by low-income salary earners, pensioners and retirees when they announced the hike.
Abu Bakar K.K. Ibrahim, a 48-year-old civil servant, said it would put more pressure on the middle income group who were already burdened with a lot of bills and expenses.
"We are still paying for our home. That is already over RM300," he said.
"Then there is the maintenance fees, car loan, children's schooling, utility bills and other things.
"With little left to put in our savings how can we afford to pay the assessment rate if it is too steep?
Tiu Eng Hua, 74, said he was uncertain over how he was going to pay his assessment bill next year.
"I am old and so is my wife, and we are childless. At this age, I am surviving doing odd jobs and it is just enough as it is but if they (City Hall) expect me to come up with hundreds of ringgit, I do not know how I am going to get it," he said.
Mutiara Magna residents' association Ahasrap Khan said there were about 1,200 residents living in the flats and the majority were opposed to the steep increase.
"We will collect all the objections and submit it to City Hall before the deadline," he said.
Kepong community service centre head Yee Poh Ping who was also at the peaceful protest rally said City Hall should come up with a reasonable rate which everyone would be happy to pay.

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