Penang Island residents see red over hefty rate hikes

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The Bukit Kukus paired road

The hefty hikes in Penang Island City Council assessments a year after Pakatan Harapan was returned to power in the Penang has alarmed many Penang residents.

It shows us that that short new “toll-free” highway in Paya Terubong – which is not a long-term solution to congestion – is not exactly free. It also shows us that the unending expenditure on CCTV cameras and related infrastructure – running into the millions – is taking a toll on ratepayers.

One house on the island (not a prime residential area) received a notice for a rate increase of just over 60%. Another home owner received a notice for a 55% hike. And I have heard of other hefty hikes, some more than 70%. How are pensioners and those on a limited or with little income going to pay up.

The Penang Island City Council expects to rake in an additional RM54m in revenue from these rate hikes.

The government is telling us these rates compare favourably with those charged by Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Putrajaya. But what it doesn’t tell us is the median household incomes of Kuala Lumpur (RM9,073 in 2016) and Putrajaya (RM8,275) are much higher than Penang state’s RM5,409 (I don’t have the figure for Penang Island alone, which would be a bit higher).

The Penang Island City Council incurred expenditure of RM392m in 2016. Back then its deficit was just RM1.4m.

But by 2017, expenditure soared to RM457m, and last year it was RM455m. For 2009, the budgeted estimate is RM506m – that’s a 30% increase in three years.

Why this increase? Let’s look at some of the recent projects from 2015 to 2018, which cost RM122m:

  • RM99m – Paya Terubong highway from Thean Teik Highway to Bukit Jambul Street, excluding land acquisition – So you are paying for this highway through your rates and it is not even a long-term solution for congestion
  • RM19m – Sports complex, CCTV building, etc – Why do we need a building for CCTV? Where is this building?

For 2019, the council has committed RM468m on various projects. That is more than the budgeted income of RM411m for the council for 2019. What kind of ‘brilliant’ financial planning is this?!

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This includes a staggering RM408m for:

  • the Paya Terubong paired road – More spending on roads instead of public transport – and it is just a short road. Why can’t the federal government fund such roads through the JKR, now that Pakatan is in power at the federal level? But why spend so much roads in the first place when more enlightened citiy planners around the world are improving pedestrian and public transport infrastructure. This reveals the backward thinking of those responsible for the highway projects in Penang.
  • development of “Intelligent Video Analytics” and an “Intelligent Operation Centre” – What is this? Are we getting value for money here? What benefits do citizens feel?

It also includes RM35m for, among other things:

  • 767 CCTV cameras on the island (including 22 for monitoring hill slopes – which is fine) – what are all those CCTV cameras for?
  • RM7m was also spent on 150 new CCTV cameras. More CCTV spending! Is this really necessary at this time?

Have they lost the plot in their enthusiasm for these so-called “projects”. The phrase “menelan belanja” that they often use when annoucing budgets or financial result is apt in this case. It literally means “swallowing expenditure”!

For 2020 to 2022, the city council plans to spend another RM179m on projects including RM11m for another 100 new cameras and maintenance of existing cameras.

Do we really need to turn Penang Island into a CCTV island under Big Brother surveillance? Has any study been made on the effectiveness of these cameras in reducing crime? What are the amounts lost through such crimes compared to the millions being spent on CCTV infrastructure?

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What about all those lands sales by the state government including those under Chief Minister Inc? (Where are the audited financial statements? What are the hundreds of millions being used for?) Why not spend some of these as grants to the council instead of raising rates at this time of economic uncertainty?

But first tell us, why spend so much on roads instead of improving our bus service?

Why spend so much on CCTV infrastructure, year in, year out? Has there been a study showing its effectiveness in drastically reducing the crime rate?

And was it really necessary for the state government to buy a fleet of new Camrys at this time – and then burdening the people with hefty rate hikes? What message that does send out?

Raising rates at this time will only increase the cost of doing business and the cost of housing rentals while reducing purchasing power.

In the first place, why the need to hike rates when so many housing projects have been approved all over Penang Island, which will generate more assessment revenue for the council – unless those news homes remain unoccupied or the buyers are unable to cough up the rates. The council should tell us how much of assessments are in arrears over the last 10 years.

See, this is what happens when we don’t have local council elections. It seems they don’t understand the principle of “no taxation without representation”.

Now we wait for bated breath for the quit rent notices, payable to the state government.

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What will happen when the state government has to incur annual maintenance costs of some RM40m-RM60m for the “toll-free” RM9bn Pan Island Link (PIL) highway under the RM46bn “PTMP”?

What will happen if the state government has to absorb losses arising from the RM170m annual operation and maintenance cost of the proposed elevated light rail (LRT) if it fails to meet its over-optimistic ridership estimate?

What happens if the state has to incur hundreds of millions of ringgit on periodic dredging to clear the siltation arising from the massive Penang Southern Reclamation and other reclamation projects in the state?

No prizes for guessing who will ultimately bear these costs while a small select group of construction corporations and developers rake in the profits.

I fear these rate hikes are just the beginning.

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Milk Tea
Guest
Milk Tea

Penang government should be building more trees not encouraging development (high-cost housing, reclaimed lands). Chinese and HK property buyers are not welcomed here, Sorry!

Shriek
Guest

Building more trees. Trees can be built? Very wan die fool or wonderful. Which in peng land the tree had been built and in which place?

Lim Goh Poh
Guest
Lim Goh Poh

Bayan Baru folks young and old ratepayers are still asking where’s the promised reolacement library after the site being taken over by GBS project at Mayang Mall ?
Digital library is too far for BB folks, unlesd there’s a schedulled free shuttle bus that can take them there.
I just help to highlight their needs.

Don Anamalai
Guest
Don Anamalai

Pity those Bayan Baru residents hoping for a library but that YB has so far turned his deaf ear and ignored the plea.

PH is getting out of touch with the voters who supported them?

I heard PH will be punished in the coming by election in Johor. Wee Jar Siong will soon get a MCA companion in the parliament, provided Umno allows MCA candidate to contest there.

Lim Goh Poh
Guest
Lim Goh Poh

MBPP wants to run like profit minded commercial entity then do run it with efficiency with effectiveness to resolve ratepayers; and not to push respinsibilities around. Otherwise, young Penangites may learn (hopefully not happening) from Hong Kong to protest on streets demanding fair local election to appoint non-political candidates to take care of well being of their home areas.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

There is a road project opposite SMK Abdullah Munshi – Jalan Ismail Cik Mat off Jalan P. Ramlee. The flood mitigation piping with road digging & road tarring took more than a year to finish!!! I counted as many as 6-7 times of digging, tarring, digging again & tarring again done by road contractors employing wai lao to do the unprofessional job. MBPP should clarify this stupid nonsense for a small narrow road & small side roads of less than 500 meters in total.

Shriek
Guest

Dude go and check before kbkb. How many services are on the road? Water, … pipes. Telephone, electricity. Internal to cross the watercourse. You very lucky. Services are still running. Otherwise taking shower, no water and no water to flush the Lee and big job.

glissantia
Guest
glissantia

Is the repeated digging (in the same place) “unprofessional” or deliberate? Some time ago, a famous Works Minister mentioned that a neighbouring country had no digging — only covered ducts. However, he never followed up. Guess why.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

The repeated digging & tarring could mean 2 things:
uncoordinated public utility works @ the said road for flood mitigation project,
to feed the crony project contractors for more than a year with repeating nonsense.
No need to shriek off the head if one disagree.

Shriek
Guest

You want to get a job as a coordinator of all the services? Good for old man. Very senang Job and good pay too. This utility company come and dig. Then tu lang want to leave it uncover with all the dangers for 1 month waiting for the next job. OK for 4wd to run into the dug hole but sori for kapcai. Or 2 lane road close one lane and the traffic back up for kilometres and slowly crawling and burning petrol heating the temperature and sea level raise up another inch around peng land. Tu lang will kbkb… Read more »

Wei
Guest
Wei

yeah right, Paul Low is one shinning example of so called non political figure that you so crave for…..hehe

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

I suggest that every PGCAT politician wear a body camera to live-monitor what each of them say & do in the State Assembly, kopitiams & CCTV suppliers’ shops to prevent abuse of state financial coffers. Plus engage Russian psychic mind readers to read into each one of them intentions when it comes to ballooning state budgets while they put itchy hands into deep-state coffers announced to public as perennial state deficits. Recent PGCAT purchase of a new fleet of Toyota Camry for itchy state officials has breached the vote-trust of Penangites who are well known for generations of thrifty lifestyles.… Read more »

Shriek
Guest

Tu lang. You want the exco to drive kanchil and the cars suddenly stop middle of road! Look at adun like former balakong. He worked until next morning and even with 4wd, too bad. You have many kbkb and if adun don’t attend kbkb, you become jumping Jack. You want student to drive cars to work but teachers riding kapcais? Do something rather talk. Talk is not worth 2sens

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Pls try harder.
Readers won’t understand your gibberish with this kind of shrieking noise!
Won’t be good for your health!

Wei
Guest
Wei

hehe….at least they are not buying useless boastful burning unnecessary fuel 4WD for sake of bin chui…….Tung tung had done a lot for penang by supporting the developer moving to high rising luxurious condo and abandoning heritage area….hehe…strangely Tung Tung is now advocating about heritage and environment….a case of do what i say don’t do what i do…hehe

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Spinning like a fool! Opportunist … with no moral nor substance to back a lying spin!
Pls try harder like your shriek split personality!!!
Go get a life!

Shriek
Guest

Please go and kau beh kau bu louder. Every time complain is bad for the heart and mind. Even people see your name there is goes the complains and kbkb. You have been trying harder in kbkb. Don’t try harder. Jalan lambat2. Gostan lagi best

Datuk Seri YB Loh
Guest
Datuk Seri YB Loh

CCTV here is definitely not policing but to enrich a few people so we can take the worry of policing state out. Most probably in any incident, when there is a need for CCTV footage, it is probably broken down.
Apart from the above points, has the Council addressed the inefficiencies of the workers. You don’t see them on weekdays or they just sweep 100 metres of road and disappeared the whole day and suddenly you see tons of them on the weekend to claim overtime.

Shriek
Guest

Without CCTV, the Boston marathon bombing will not be solved. The investigators found 2 punks carrying backpacks when they play back the CCTV. Without CCTV, there will be no justice and in the end crime does pay. CCTV are like plane black box.

Teo Chuen Tick
Guest
Teo Chuen Tick

By and large, the council has provided good service in my community.
I will be willing to pay a fair increase in assessment rates.
But my increase is 78%,that to me is daylight robbery.
That puts the Penang state govt.in the category of the greedy, heartless hawkers who raise prices at every opportunity.
Yes, here goes another round of hawker food hikes!!

Don Anamalai
Guest
Don Anamalai

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 26 — The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) can now shut down eateries that fail to comply with cleanliness requirements.

The MBPP full council meeting today approved the proposal to give MBPP enforcement officers the authority to shut down eateries in the city that fail to meet all cleanliness requirements.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Penang water rates increased which is reflected in this month’s water bill. Surcharge also increased for usage above certain capacity.
What’s next to make more money out of the people???

Wei
Guest
Wei

hehe….can pay for fuel for bin chui 4WD but refuse to pay for few cents of water…….use the rain water lar…..LOL

Milk Tea
Guest
Milk Tea

Why is the price of everything increased but the wages still stay the same? Who is reaping the gain? Time for the youth to rise up and demand action!

Wei
Guest
Wei

hehe….their wages are low because they would rather wasting time kpkb instead of working hard to improve themselves and have the courage to take risk to start a business…..maybe its time you knock that into your forever want to be spoon fed mentality thick skull..LOL

Shriek
Guest

No increase in productivity. Tungland just for chip chip one tonne mee. Only increase is noise both volume and duration in kbkb

Don Anamalai
Guest
Don Anamalai

Cannot expect wages to go up since there is a big supply of unemployed graduates. Also MNCs are bypassing Malaysia for lower cost Vietnam and India, despite factories shifting out of China due to Trade War!

Xijin
Guest
Xijin

HBA is correct. Government should not intervene. Developers should be made to eat the loses if they overpaid for land, build wrong products and have to sell at a loss. After all when they were reaping big profits when they drive up prices, they insist that government not to intervene. Redha’s nasi lemak analogy is real stupid. This is a case of developers failure to gage the markets correctly and build the wrong products.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Why don’t these greedy developers blame the enlightened property gurus? There is one in George Town who always like to predict the rainbows in Love Lane!

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Do you believe Penangites truly want to be like the HongKees?

You be the judge after watching this eye-opening video:
How Hong Kong is home to the crazy rich and the mega poor

Note what the small girl said with great hope at the end of this video.

Pipit
Guest
Pipit

Hong Kong government is seizing the farmland owned by 4 rich tycoons, under the Lands Resumption Ordinance, to build public housing.

https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/3030483/henderson-offers-1-million-sq-ft-fanling-farmland-public-homes

Shriek
Guest

Government is not seizing but developer is giving some land back. Problem is hk is many times bigger then singland. Unlike singland, it is easy and cheap to get sand and water and run on free market. Hk gets preferences like greater pearl delta, high speed train link and bridge link to zhuhai and Macau which takes half hour journey and cost $35 ringgit.

Pipit
Guest
Pipit

Shenzhen is ditching its Hong Kong housing model to adopt the Singapore housing policy

https://www.businessinsider.my/shenzhen-is-ditching-its-hong-kong-housing-model-to-adopt-the-singapore-housing-policy/amp/

Time for Penang government to consult Singapore’s HDB for blueprint? Othetwise one day young Penangites can become restless and protest like Hong Kong youth when they cannot afford to buy own home.

Abdul Hayi
Guest
Abdul Hayi

Whoever complained shd look at the hefty increase in house prices especially on the island. This is due to higher demand when the economy is well managed thus attracting more business.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

High demand? You must be joking!
Property overhang translates to high demand but why are developers asking for selling more properties to HongKees???
If Pg economy is well managed, why must PGCAT tax the people via increase in Assessment Rates? It all boils down to high end property sales tax miscalculation by PGCAT dreaming of a windfall from high end properties when some politicians or one could get a below market price bungalow.
April Fool Day is still far off, bru.

Wei
Guest
Wei

hehe…they tax you because green warrior said want beautiful paint on their flat for sake of bin chui mah….why you complain ??

Shriek
Guest

There it goes. Whenever he write, it is always complains. Complains and complains and kbkb. So negative. Major events like burning in Amazon jungle or haze over penisular and sea level rise remain quiet.

Pipit
Guest
Pipit
tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Wong Chun Wai still needs to holiday sambil but bisnes in China. So, he dares not comment the truth or his lack of on-site reporting to ‘see’ the truth of barbaric brutality of the HK Hak Seh Wooi Police skewed his perception. This is not good for the reputation of a former journalist. There are many in the show business like Jackie Chan who just kept mouse-quiet to protect their rice bowls sanctioned by the CCP but who in the past have praised the free HK people (to get their money-support) & her laissez-faire economy of no government intervention. Now,… Read more »

Shriek
Guest

Tu lang try to show off everything. Do mata2 raise flag before shooting? They have red and black flag before shooting. Baptist uni students were caught and they ran to uni for help. They are not uni men but kiddies…. If anyone do not agree with the protesters they bash them. They throw petrol bombs, burn mrt and vandalise the parliament house…. Yet tu lang think it is acceptable. It is HK government did not impose any emergency acts or martial law. They have not call PLA or China polisi for help. You like the British to force the Chinese… Read more »

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Have you seen live feed from HK, unbiased reporting as it was & not censored by your Pres.Xi Winnie the Pooh? Have you seen the HK Police Raptors (some of whom are allegedly infiltrated by PLA) behaving like deranged brutal gangsters against unarmed teens & girls (easy targets)? Have you seen the bloody August 31 brutal ambush of commuters at the MTR subway possibly killing 3 persons but claimed them to be suicide cases (can you recall Teoh Beng Hock suicidal death?)? This is just a few I would like you to just open a little of your blur-blur eyes… Read more »

Anfield
Guest
Anfield

Today PRC chinese rejoiced with pride at nation’s 70th birthday, saw the progress of the nation since those dark days of the unfair treaties imposed by the western imperialists, opium wars, boxer rebellion and the rape of Nanjing.

But the protesters in Hong Kong are wondering in despair how their old imperial British master could help them in 5 demands, when the Brits are facing uncertain economic future of forced Brexit.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

This is just one latest live feed dedicated to Wong Chun Wai’s enlightenment:
[10.1] Hong Kong turned into a One Sided Battlefield (English) #hongkong #protest #news

Xijin
Guest
Xijin

Inflation in Penang is second highest in Malaysia after KL.

No wonder price up in almost anything in Penang.

Shriek
Guest

If Ipoh has second highest infla si, then more people will desert Ipoh. Penang had second highest highest, everyone wants to live there. Tulang say bye bye to belum and even not willing to move to seberang.

WJ Lim
Guest
WJ Lim

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/12/12/nothing-surprising-about-rise-in-mbpp-deficit-says-ex-councillor/

“He told FMT that the council could only improve its finances if it did its core job, which is to collect assessment rates from the islanders. He said MBPP must also have the political will to raise its rates instead of depending on non-tax-related revenue.”

“He also said MBPP’s assessment rates were too low, and not commensurate with the properties of ratepayers.

He claimed the council had made repeated attempts over the years to raise the rates to boost its core revenue, but that these were vetoed by the state government for “populist” reasons.”

-Dr Lim Mah Hui

Wei
Guest
Wei

hehe…the state government had been reluctant to tax the people instead they focused on taxing the developer (hehe.. thought green fighter said they are buddies/cronies)…..the state government did the right thing but don’t expect any credit from the hater in NGOs…hehe

Penangkia
Guest
Penangkia

State gov imposes levy on developers and developers pass the levy to us. In the end who is paying levy?

Wei
Guest
Wei

hehe…easy..power is in your hand..you choose whether to buy or not..nobody force you to buy ..if you think developer charge you unfairly..don’t buy lar…it is up to you to try all kind of tricks to avoid taxes…i applaud you for being smart in avoiding taxes while enjoying all the free government facilities and services…hehe

Penangkia
Guest
Penangkia

Join the discussion…Unlike some who are given free accommodation by parents, many still need affordable housing. Most cannot afford the extra taxed by our state government. I pay all my taxes, but I want the state government to be accountable for all the taxes collected, and not channeled to people like you.

Don Anamalai
Guest
Don Anamalai

Someone forwarded me this interesting video by Matthias Chang on the”future map of Middle East”. Watch it when you are free, quite provoking.

Pipit
Guest
Pipit

GEORGE TOWN: The sudden increase in assessment tax in the state will set off a multiplier effect on many things, which will in turn hike living costs, says Tanjung MCA division chairman Loke Poh Chye.

He explained that when assessment tax increases, the people would be burdened with a sudden increase in living costs.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/09/29/hike-in-assessment-tax-will-set-off-multiplier-effect-says-tanjung-mca-chief#yoZ7H2ASwR5YlW2x.99

Don Anamalai
Guest
Don Anamalai

Banks also squeezing money from customers?

Several banks have come under fire for charging fees when customers make loan and credit card payments with cash or cheques over the counter or through deposit machines. At least two other banks have announced they would do the same from next month.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/09/26/customers-paying-the-price-for-cashless-transactions#oxmgXQiL0zkEvxkT.99

Banks are doing away with counter staff?
Likely to retrench more workers down the road?

Wei
Guest
Wei

hehe…got to ask ex banker … to share with us their blood sucking technique… i bet it is hundred times more potent than the property developer’s …hehe

Pipit
Guest
Pipit

Pakatan’s “New Malaysia” vision – fact or fiction?

Don Anamalai
Guest
Don Anamalai

Because of no courage to counter the R&R Ultras, the “New Malaysia” notion is a fallacy for now.

PH will likely be a one-term government since it betrayed the voters!

Sam G
Guest
Sam G

Plenty of discrepancies in the charges. A RM1+ million 20×70 DST in Sri Nibong, DST in Jelutong behind market, and a 1,000sqft RM500k apartment charged same rates of RM530 or so
Bodoh kah?

Wei
Guest
Wei

hehe…there is no complain when property owner sell their property at ridiculous profit and charge high rental, the only complain is price and profit not high enough, on one hand they unashamedly reap the reward of capitalism on another hand criticizing capitalism like a saint and bla bla bla about social justice…when come to contribute to government coffer that can help social justice they moan and squirm like end of the world…such hypocrite..

Shriek
Guest

Peng land lang want chip chip and in good order like no traffic jams but not willing to pay. In past revenue depend on developers. Now the government change the way where the revenue come from, yet tu lang still kbkb

Wei
Guest
Wei

recently my area has seen all the street lighting changed to LED lighting…it is now so much brighter and safer at night …even with the added brightness the habitual hater will still fail to see the positive work that is being done by the local government….you hater want free thing you should find and connect the vendor who are wiling to provide everything free to the state government instead of kpkb here day and night spewing out negativity…. hehe

Ybloh
Guest
Ybloh

Street lighting is under Tenaga and is under federal government. Assessment is under the under performing MBPP under state government

Wei
Guest
Wei

Don’t make a fooll of yourself….there are 2 types of street lighting one maintained by TNB and one by Majlis….

PG Lang
Guest

Other than LED lighting anything else is new ?
Same traffic congestion……higher and higher food prices……more and more housing projects being approved and developed……flood each time it rains ……the list can go on !

Shriek
Guest

More housing approved because peng land lang not willing to pay assessment. Last time, peng land was king of bicycle then king of kapcais. Now kapcais no standard and peng land lang can afford to buy cars but not will to pay higher assessment. More assessment, no need to get money from developer.