Where’s my quit rent deadline reminder? Free us from digital servitude!

Letter to editor

I PAY my power bill on or before the 19th each month – definitely before the due date. Similarly settled are my mobile and home internet, water and other utility bills.

All on time, simply because the service providers remind me. They do so via e-mail, SMS or printed physical bill. Like clockwork.

Sadly, entities like local authorities (annual assessments), land office (quit rent) and other revenue collectors (Road Transport Department for vehicle road tax and driving licence fee) do not or have stopped doing so.

A polite notice or nudge to ratepayers and consumers that their bills are due was standard practice, but apparently too much of a chore now.

The agencies would rather bet that some or many consumers will forget, default and pay a penalty.

After all, it’s not that hard to remember that one bill. It isn’t as if people are juggling jobs, busily chasing a career, sending children to school, shuttling between home and office or out saving the world.

No doubt, going digital is efficient, convenient, saves costs, saves time, saves trees and saves red tape. But surely not at the expense of passing the buck to the very people service providers serve.

A fast-spreading plight befalling homeowners and ratepayers is the decision by local authorities to stop issuing quit rent and assessment notices. It is now ratepayers’ duty to remember deadlines and to check the rates online at the respective websites. Forget at your peril.

If you remember that it’s time to pay your council dues, good luck navigating the website to find the information. How frustrating and inconvenient!

It appears that every agency, department and council is eagerly jumping onto the digital/app bandwagon without in-depth study and engagement on its impact on the public who are their clients and paymasters.

Most owners of landed property in older housing areas, I dare say, are senior citizens or soon will be.

Do the mighty powers that be consider the less digitally able members of the community? Were residents’ groups, ratepayers and homeowners consulted? Or at least offered an option to not become digital serfs?

Can’t the local councils at least send reminders to ratepayers digitally (and by e-mail for those who opt for it)? It is their job to serve us. Not the other way round. – Feb 20, 2023


Forgetful Ratepayer
Petaling Jaya

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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