Perusing through the 2017 Selangor budget allocations, I found that similar to last year, residential assessment rates and licence fees for the F1 category have been exempted. Residents and traders are glad that these generous gestures will help out as the cost of living has increased due to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the withdrawal of subsidies.
The state government needs to make it clear, unlike the confusion it created at the end of 2015, as to which kampungs, new villages, low-cost houses and apartments will be exempted in assessment rates and also which category of traders will qualify for the waiving of trading licence fees.
The local authorities such as city councils and district councils should be clearly instructed on this point as many house owners and traders had paid their rates and licence fees for 2016, which was mistakenly or deliberately accepted by the local authorities.Getting a refund for the money paid has been a major problem and the Selangor government needs to direct the local authorities to refund or offset the payment for other purposes.
It is unjustified to collect the money and still not refund it despite being ordered to do so by the Public Complaints Bureau.
Another point that I would like to highlight is that in every state budget there is usually an allocation for non-Muslim houses of worship - churches and temples. However, this year there has been none despite the record revenues collected, and it is a matter of concern to the large non-Muslim communities in the state. Only the Sikhs have been allocated RM500,000, while about RM200 million has been allocated for mosques and Islamic programmes.
Every year the allocation for churches and temples had been increasing in keeping with the Pakatan government’s liberal and magnanimous position. It is hoped that Menteri Besar Azmin Ali will look into the complaints and concerns soon.