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Of assessment increases and “longkang berkilat”

January 23, 2014

Hello there. Hope everybody is doing fine and had a good beginning to 2014. As for me, nothing much has changed with the new year. Work is still work, but to be fair, slightly less stressful with the arrival of a new manager in my department. I could at least afford to take a much needed one week break at the end of last year. It’s nice to know that things are being taken care of at work while you’re on leave.

I’m sure you’ve heard of DBKL’s proposal to increase assessment charges for properties in KL. It follows that my house, being in KL will be affected. Presently I’m paying about RM400 plus for my yearly assessment. As a result of the proposed hike, I’ll have to pay close to RM900. That’s a 100 percent plus increase. Which riles me up. I’m sure you’re familiar with the rant that during this times of price increases, another hike up is not welcome. The public was given the opportunity to submit letters protesting to the increase. The residents’ association of my taman prepared a sample of the protest letter. All you have to do was to fill your name and the relevant references and serve the letter on DBKL.

I did some research online and found many more sample letters with some very compelling arguments against the raise. Wanting to be that little bit different, I chose a few of the better points and prepared letters for me and Mak. In the end it was reported that approximately 160,000 plus protest letters were sent to DBKL. OK, I have a point to make here. According to the Federal Territories Minister (you know who you are) the fact that only 160,000 letters were received meant not every property owner was against the assessment increase. Who in their right mind would accept a raise in the price of anything? It just doesn’t make sense. I guess with the recent barrage of less-than-clever statements I should probably not be surprised anymore.

Moving swiftly on, we were called for a hearing with DBKL officers on 6 January 2014 if I recall correctly. The session was divided into the classes of properties. Single storey, double storey and semi-detached homes. We were ushered into this meeting room to face a few DBKL officers. The session was chaired by a guy who was a member of DBKL’s board or something. Apparently he was a guy from MCA (the political party). So we were given the opportunity to air our grouses to the panel. I belong to the semi-detached homes group. The group comprises of mostly old timers and I was the youngest of the lot. Naturally the elderly folk had a certain level of decorum in expressing their reservation to the issue at hand. A few of them spoke and admittedly made good arguments. There were criticism of DBKL’s services and the like.

I was biding my time. I felt I had to say something if only to justify the annual leave I had to take to attend the hearing. I sensed my opportunity and started my rant. I gave quite a speech. I told them I thought the high rate of increase was ridiculous. If the raise was done say, 10 percent over every 5 years or so it wouldn’t be as bad. It’s not as if the services provided are of the highest quality either. I said I got the feeling we were all there to beg DBKL not to increase the assessment while I’ve not heard of a single explanation from them as to the reasons for the hike. I told them that if after the increase my taman’s drains (which was a cause for constant bother) would be beautifully made up (I used the word “berkilat”) or DBKL would build a viaduct from the main road directly into the taman, I’d be happy to pay the increase.

It wasn’t all brickbats. I did thank DBKL for letting us meet with the panel, who I gather, are mostly technical people. There were valuers and property savvy people amongst the members. I thought we could get the true picture, which we did. I told them “I wouldn’t believe a word said by your Minister because I think he doesn’t know what he’s talking about”.

The panel couldn’t answer my queries. The best the MCA guy could give me was “I am against the increase as well. I’ve also submitted my protest letter”. Now that’s not exactly fighting for the cause, is it?

Anyway, my rant has increased my reputation among the old timers a little bit and the story has spread inside the taman. I was asked about it during a kenduri I went to last week. So I’m basking in my moment in the limelight at the moment. In the end, I urge the authorities to quit implementing these types of measures. When they had the meeting to decide on the increase, did nobody tell them it will not be well received? Or everybody was so concerned about their positions that when the guy mooted the idea everybody just kept quiet and there was a collective nod of the head? It just beggars belief. That would be the subject of another entry I guess.

Till then.



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