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No Increase In Assessment Rates

KOTA KINABALU. According to City Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai there will be no increase in assessment rates this year. Noting that the revaluation exercise currently being carried out by City Hall is leading to some people speculating that assessment rates will be increased, he made it clear that this is not the purpose of the exercise.

Datuk Yeo explained that periodic revaluation is required under Section 74 of the Local Government Ordinance to ensure that assessment rates are fair having regard to the constantly changing market as the city develops. Much of the data upon which the existing assessments are based is out of date. Accordingly, in response to the advice given by the Federal Audit Department, the State Cabinet directed in May 2014 that a revaluation exercise be carried out.

 He further explained that a fair and proper revaluation necessitates the collection of up to date data and supporting documents. This is a very big undertaking for a city the size of Kota Kinabalu and the work needs to be done quickly to ensure uniform valuation across the city. To achieve this, City Hall is being assisted in this work by seven valuation firms.

Datuk Yeo pointed out that, as fair valuation relies on correct data, property owners are not helping themselves or the community if they do not provide this data. It is for this reason that Section 76 of the Local Government Ordinance provides for penalties in cases where property owners and tenants either refuse to provide required data and documents or who provide false data.

He stated that he is determined to do a good job that is fair to everyone. This can only be achieved through wholehearted collaboration between City Hall, property owners, property tenants and the assisting valuation firms. As part of this collaborative approach, when the new valuation list has been prepared it will be made available for public inspection so that property owners can check the correctness of the details for their property in the list.

The Mayor concluded by observing that the law is the same for everyone and is fair. The revaluation work is being carried out in accordance with the law and so will be fair to all. In the meantime, there will be no change in assessment rates and property owners are reminded that if they fully pay their assessment rates to the end of the year before 31st March 2017, they will be able to enjoy a rebate of 5% on the rates for 2017, 75% discount on any interest charged to their account and full waiver of any notice fees.