GEORGE TOWN, Nov 24 – The Penang government has approved an increase in the annual assessment rates in the state from next year. State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said this would translate into revenue of about RM40 million by the two state municipal councils — the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP)
Describing the increment as marginal, Chow gave an assurance that the move would not burden ratepayers. “We took into consideration many issues so as not to affect the lower-income group. “The decision was made by the executive council on Sept 24. “The increased revenue is needed to meet higher operational costs to enhance services, carry out development projects and improve basic amenities,” he told a press conference at his office in Komtar here earlier today.
MPPP now projects its revenue from assessment to rise by RM20.46 million to RM180.9 million in 2015. MPSP, meanwhile, projects its revenue to rise by RM20.49 million to RM158.19 million in 2015. Village homes and agricultural lands, he said, were exempted from the increase, while owners of low-cost flats will see a rise of just 0.5%. All landed property and condominiums will have their rate hiked by 1%.
He said the bulk of the 1.25% hikes were in the industrial and commercial sectors. The highest increment will be faced by golf courses. The only turf club in the state will see the rate going up 4.45% on the island and 4.25% on the mainland. “The state has taken into careful consideration the fact that local councils had not increased assessment rates for the last 10 years.
“They are supposed to increase every five years, but we have not done so for 10 years,” he said, adding that the state had not allowed it when the matter was raised by the councils in 2010. The rates, Chow explained, were fixed after lengthy discussions with the two councils, with the state requesting for a lower amount than that originally proposed so as not to burden the people He pointed out that under Section 137(3) of the Local Government Act, a new valuation list must be prepared and completed once every five years, unless the current list was extended by the state authority.
Stressing that the revision in assessment would not burden the people, MPPP secretary Ang Aing Thye said 85% of landed property owners would see a hike of less than RM50 per year, 83% of low- and medium-cost apartment owners would see a hike of less than RM10, and 81% of condominium owners would see an increase of less than RM50.
Meanwhile, MPSP president Datuk Maimunah Shariff said 84% of owners of landed property on the mainland would now see a hike of less than RM50 annually, 84% of low-cost flat owners less than RM50 and 88% of medium- and high-end apartment owners less than RM30.