New assessment rates in Selangor ruffle residents

LOCAL authorities in Selangor have recently begun to post new assessment rates for residents, owners of commercial and industrials units in their respective jurisdictional areas.

As expected, the rates have been increased significantly and this has caused alarm and anger towards the local authorities for not considering the present socio-economic conditions, which have affected both residents and business owners.

The residents’ main gripe is targeted at the local authorities for the poor maintenance of infrastructure, unhygienic conditions, and other municipal shortcomings.

Most complaints even when highlighted in the media and other channels do not get a quick pro-active response.

Residents do not mind paying more if the surroundings and environment they live in are maintained well by the municipal authorities. They understand that one needs to pay more for a better upkeep and provision of services.

What they are angry with is when local authorities demand first-world assessment rates for third-world shoddy municipal services.

Local authorities are extravagantly spending more money and allocations blindly on various projects, some wasteful and unnecessary. The residents are concerned that they are not getting full value for their hard-earned money paid twice yearly as assessment rates.

Contractors are paid hefty amounts but their work mostly ends up as shoddy and incompetent.

Local authority officials do not monitor the contractors or their workers whether it is ensuring cleanliness or trimming trees and branches or other essential tasks. Corruption is rife.

Residents have to complain repeatedly before they get a response. The poor choice of local councillors – usually rewarded by their political parties for their support and loyalty – are not work-oriented and may not be seen after their appointment.

It is the same with the Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK). Both the councillors and JKKKs can be seen busy doing nothing throughout the year and only show up when some party-related events are held.

In these meetings they would normally offer a plethora of excuses and promises for not fulfilling residents’ expectations!

The lack of local government elections is having a telling effect on a highly urbanised and industrialised developed state such as Selangor.

Proper and effective local management of problems and needs of the people can be better addressed – and redressed – by elections in the third tier of government.

It is bewildering to note that whenever the issue of municipal elections is highlighted, race and related matters are brought up as a counter-move.

Even totalitarian regimes have local polls as a means of empowering the residents and people and allowing them to settle their own problems.

Local elections in Selangor will save hundreds of millions of ringgit annually and ensure that residents get what they want, and not unnecessary wasteful projects thrust on them for which they end up paying by way of assessment rates.

(Pic credit: Caricarz)

Just look at Selangor’s worn-out and potholed roads statewide which can be traced to the first Pakatan administration from 2008-2013 that was keener to save expenditure and show a budgetary surplus to earn high marks and praise from HRH Sultan Sharafuddin instead of spending money for regular maintenance of roads and other infrastructure.

The result has been a snowballing of problems especially worn-out roads that are a danger to road users nowadays.

Some residents and shop owners have resorted to cementing the potholes in front of their properties with concrete having lost hope of action by the authorities.

With re-surfacing costs having shot up and with the need to cover crater-like potholes, good roads will be hard to come by in Selangor.

Regular re-paving is more economical in the long term as was done during the Barisan Nasional (BN) days.

Even good roads were re-paved during the BN government, and a sure harbinger of impending general elections then was when there was a busy re-surfacing statewide of the roads and other infrastructural works.

Sadly, those days are gone. Pakatan Harapan’s 16-year administration has been a big let-down in terms of local administration.

However, there is hope that things can turns around if more emphasis is given to municipal issues. Selangor should not only be a developed first world state but should be proud of scoring other “firsts” that will make ratepayers and the people proud of being Selangorians.

For this to happen there is a need for competent and pro-active administrators. Clock-watchers, seat-warmers and graft-takers – whether they are mayors, district officers or councillors – should be shown the exit and replaced with people who can make Selangor first in all aspects of local government. – May 28, 2024


Main pic credit: Bernama

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