PUTRAJAYA: Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) proposal to revise the assessment rates on properties in the city is long overdue as demand for services has come with greater costs, said the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister.
The Government could not afford to provide all services by subsidies or for free as it would not be sustainable, said Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (pic).
“The rakyat want improvement and more services every year but all these require finances – be it problems with garbage, drainage, traffic congestion and so on.
“The people must understand that there is cost to good living and the Government cannot be 100% responsible for this.
“There has to be some kind of contribution and participation from the residents of Kuala Lumpur,” Abdul Rahman said when met after the launch of the International Conference on the Challenges of Extended Mega Urban Regions here yesterday.
A recent proposal by the DBKL to increase the assessment rates has upset Kuala Lumpur residents, prompting pockets of protests to be held by residents in various parts of the city.
The rate hike is the first such increase in 21 years and Pakatan Rakyat leaders had estimated the quantum of the increase to be around 100% to 300%.
The protests from city folks have forced Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib to clarify in the media that the proposal has not been set in stone, as residents have until Dec 17 to object in writing to the Property Management and Valuation Department if they do not agree with the new rate.
Abdul Rahman echoed this statement, assuring those affected that their opinion will be heard.
“What I know (is that) we only want to get the opinion from residents, so we will take it from there. I am sure the FT (Federal Territories) ministry will look into the (appropriate) quantum,” Abdul Rahman said.
Asked if the proposal to increase property tax had contradicted the Government’s promise to provide affordable housing, Abdul Rahman replied that building affordable homes in Kuala Lumpur is a “very expensive proposition”.
“Imagine building a house that cost RM160,000 but is sold at RM35,000.
“We are talking about each unit being subsidised by RM120,000 per PPR (People’s Housing Programme) unit.
“If we go on the way we are doing right now, it is no longer sustainable.
“The people must come in and help the Government defray some of the costs,” he said.
By: Lee Yen Mun
Source: the Star Online
Published on: Thursday, October 9, 2014