Defer rate hike for 2 years, urges Penang backbencher

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The assessment fees for Penang properties are expected to go up between 50% and 98%. (Facebook pic)

GEORGE TOWN: A PKR backbencher today urged the Penang government to defer the increase in city council assessment fees for another two years in view of the tough economic conditions and unpopularity of the move.

Jason Ong Khan Lee (PH-Kebun Bunga) said the proposed hike does not take into account the stagnating income of ratepayers.

“Many are having a hard time with the daily cost of living expenses. Their salaries have not increased in tandem with the proposed assessment hike.

“The hike will reduce the disposable income of ratepayers. Furthermore, the country’s economy is slow now. Good governance requires a reduction in taxes,” he said when debating the 2020 Supply Bill.

This year, the federal government also introduced a 5% Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) on properties bought or inherited.

As such, Ong said the hike in assessment was also a double whammy for all ratepayers.

A total of 322,549 properties on the island and another 327,401 in Seberang Perai are affected. The assessment fees are expected to go up between 50% and 98%.