RATEPAYERS in Ipoh are fuming mad after they received notices from the Ipoh City Council on the higher assessment rates imposed.
The new assessment rates were fixed after an exercise to revaluate properties was carried out.
The council had revised the rates just last year, where residential ratepayers were required to pay 16.5% compared to the previous rate of 16%.
Canning assemblyman Wong Kah Woh said residents living in Taman Cempaka and Desa Cempaka near here had informed him about the matter a few days ago.
He said that about 3,000 households in both the areas had received the notices, and were very unhappy, as there was an increase of between 10% and 276% in their assessment rates.
'I was told that about 16,000 ratepayers in both the areas, Tambun and Tanjung Rambutan have received such notices since last week.
'I hope the local government will freeze and cancel the exercise, as with the Goods and Services tax and development charges imposed on ratepayers, the hike is not helping to reduce the burden of the people.
'So the council at this juncture should not increase the assessment rates by way of revaluation of the properties, and burden the people further,' he added.
Wong said Ipoh had the highest assessment rate after Kuching compared to nationwide.
Chin Nyuk Voon, 50, from Desa Cempaka said he currently paid RM286.28 in assessment, but with the revaluation of his property, he would be required to pay RM1,079.10.
The insurance agent said he was shocked when he received the notice, because there was an increase of 276%.
Chow Wai Kuan, 39, meanwhile, said before she received the notice she used to pay RM257.40, but was now required to pay RM633.60.
'I have two school-going children, monthly expenditure and various bills to settle.
'We don't come from a rich family background, and the increase in the rates is drastic,' added Chow who works in a bank.
Senior citizen Chong Soek Ying, 72, from Taman Cempaka said she used to pay RM16.50 in assessment but that the notice now stated she was required to pay RM405.90.
'Where are my husband and I are going to get so much of money to pay the exorbitant hike in the assessment rate.
'We are old people, and we need money for our medical bills. We can't afford to pay so much in assessment,' she said.
Datuk Bandar Datuk Harun Rawi said the council had issued notices for the amendments made to the annual assessment to a total of 19,193 property owners.
He said the revaluation of the properties in the city was carried out this year, and that the council found several factors that led to the amendments made.
The factors, he said included the revaluation of the yearly assessment from a previous vacant plot of land to a building being constructed there, enforcement carried out on new extensions and illegal renovations, and change in status for property owners.
He said the revaluation exercise was carried out in Tanjung Rambutan, Taman Perpaduan, Tambun and Taman Cempaka.
'The exercise was carried out in 67 residential areas, and to date 16,409 notices have been sent out to the property owners.
'Such an exercise was carried out for the first time after a very long period, and it was also in line with Section 144 (1) of the Local Government Act 1976, which allows revision on property at all times,' he added.
Harun said the difference in the amount varies from one property owner to another, based on the checks carried out at the relevant sites by the council officers.
He said the enforcement date for the amended yearly assessment was effective from July 1.
'Ratepayers can use the proper channel to voice out their objections.
'The council has set up an objections committee for those who are unhappy with the revised rates,' he added.