Slap higher assessment on empty homes, says CAP

CAP says owner-occupied homes should not be made to pay more in assessment rates. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) has urged the state government to impose higher assessment rates on empty homes and apartments to curb property speculation.

Its president Mohideen Abdul Kader said that instead of increasing assessment rates on all properties, the state should provide discounts for owner-occupied homes.

He said an “owner-occupied concession” was practised until about two decades ago when it was discontinued.

“If there is a reduced increase in assessment rates for occupied premises, it will encourage property owners to lower their rental to keep their premises rented out.

“Raising the assessment for all at this juncture is a bad decision considering the economic situation and that half of the country’s working population is earning less than RM2,000,” he said in a statement today.

Recently, the state announced that it would review the assessment rates which had not been changed since 2005, adding that an increase was necessary to fund the council’s projects in the future.

Mohideen also raised concern over the poor collection of assessment fees by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP).

He said there were 54,792 property owners who owed RM58.3 million to MBPP as at April.

“We urge the local councils to take effective action to collect the large amount of assessment arrears. The amount owed to MBPP is staggering and this is just the first half of the year,” he said.

He also said MBPP should stop wasteful projects, such as the RM30 million underpass from Mount Erskine Road to Burmah Road.

“MBPP announced the plan to implement 31 infrastructure projects between 2020 and 2022 costing RM179.03 million. MBSP will also be implementing 46 projects within the same period, costing RM169.74 million.

“The local councils do not need to spend RM348.77 million on projects not needed at the expense of ratepayers, particularly those in the B40 category,” he said.