29 Nov 2013

FT minister: City Hall only has RM1.7m spending money

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FT minister: City Hall only has RM1.7m spending money – NST

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 29 — Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has just RM1.7 million to work with despite large cash reserves, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said today in a bid to deflect criticism from ratepayers unhappy at having to pay double in property tax from next year.

The embattled federal territories and urban well-being minister (picture)confirmed the city administration is sitting on a cash pile totalling RM3.8 billion, but said the authorities were unable to touch a sen of the stash without due justification.

“Yes, we have RM3.8 billion in reserves but we can’t use that money at our whims and fancies,” he told a news conference at his office here.

“Some of it is deposit from developers, some of it is reserved for car-park development… we can’t go and use this money to beautify the city or fix up [sic] roads.

“In truth, I can only use RM1.7 million after you minus all the expenses. For all I know, we could even run into a deficit,” he said.

Home and business owners in the city have been up in arms over the past few weeks, after they received notices from DBKL informing them of a hike of between 100 and 250 per cent to their existing annual assessment rates.

Tengku Adnan’s ministry and City Hall have since been at the receiving end of angry responses from residents’ associations and city MPs from the opposition and even leaders from the Umno Federal Territories division.

Officials from the ministry and City Hall have previously explained that the hike was necessary to raise funds to cover the cost of improving services provided by the local authority.

They highlighted too that the tax has not been raised in 21 years.

There are a total of 507,800 properties listed under DBKL’s jurisdiction, with 56 per cent or slightly over 284,300 categorised as commercial structures while the remaining 44 per cent or around 223,400 are residential properties.

On complaints from business operators in the city, the minister said today that they have yet to hear of businesses that are unhappy with the assessment hike.

He said he believed that most business owners, especially conglomerates and large companies, would be happy with the assessment hike as the actual value of their properties would be reflected in the twice-yearly assessment notices issued by the local authorities.

“Big businesses are very happy because they will know the value of their properties now. Previously they are always quarrelling with their auditors over the actual value of their properties.

“They will say ‘this is what the property is worth’, and the auditors will stop and say ‘that is not what is said in the assessment’… honestly, I have not heard of any complaints from the business community,” he said.

* Aides to Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the federal territories and urban well-being minister misspoke during the news conference.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/ft-minister-city-hall-only-has-rm1.7m-spending-money#sthash.uL67SVRd.dpuf

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