Pakatan Rakyat MPs in Kuala Lumpur have called on city dwellers to protest the proposed hike in assessment rates by sending in objection letters to City Hall before December 17.
In a press conference at the Parliament lobby today, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar called the decision "totally unacceptable" and said the excuses for the rates increase were "ridiculous".
"The excuse that the assessment fee has not been increased for 21 years is not good enough. If at all the rates have to be hiked up, it should be done in stages and not in one go like this," she said.
"I call on all those who have homes or are renting places in KL to fill up the protest form and send it in to the evaluation director of City Hall."
Nurul Izzah said the hike indirectly contradicted the government's efforts to introduce affordable housing through PR1MA.
"It will also be a burden to those who rent properties in KL. The landlord would be forced to increase rental rates because of the assessment fee.”
The PKR vice-president said the hike cannot be justified as City Hall's services have decreased over the years.
"They used to be in charge of sewerage but now this has been taken over by Indah Water and we pay them as well," she added.
Nurul Izzah (pic, right) revealed that during a meeting with Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, she was told that residents had until December 17 to voice their objections.
"They must learn to listen to the rakyat and shelve this assessment hike," she said.
Echoing her, Wangsa Maju MP Dr Tan Kee Kwong, who was also present, said Tengku Adnan's excuses for the increase in assessment fee were not satisfactory.
"The prices of petrol and sugar have increased. The cost of living is rising. How are people going to cope?
"The excuse that the value of houses has increased does not sit well as many people bought their homes years ago and will not be able to afford the new assessment rates," he said.
Batu MP Tian Chua later told The Malaysian Insider that the people would see the hike as a form of punishment for voters in the city who had voted for the opposition.
In the 2013 general election, Pakatan Rakyat won 9 out of the 11 seats contested in Kuala Lumpur.
"This is a big burden for the rakyat. While I agree with the argument that the rate has not been increased in the past 21 years, but this is untimely," said Tian Chua.
"A proper study and evaluation should have been done beforehand and the minister should have gotten the feedback from the rakyat before announcing this."
The PKR politician pointed out that whether or not the government wanted to punish the people was immaterial as the people were already suffering.
"It does look like the moves and policies seem to be penalising the urban residents," he added.
Tengku Adnan has defended the proposed hike, saying the assessment rate had remained the same for the past 21 years.
He said residents have till December 17 to submit feedback as it was not the final decision, adding that the government would take their objections into consideration and discuss the best approach before "coming up with a win-win solution". - November 18, 2013.