Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lift the burden, govt urged - The Star


The Penang Government can inject over RM93mil into the economy by reducing assessment rates and rental of public housing, and waiving hawker's fees.

The Penang Gerakan local government bureau suggested the move as short-term positive measures for the state to help Penangites in view of recent price hikes.

The bureau’s six former municipal councillors, led by Teh Leong Meng, proposed that the state grant a 50% reduction in assessment for all residential and commercial properties, and a 70% reduction in rental of public housing owned by the state and its two municipal councils.

Making proposals: Teh (right) speaking at the press conference. With him are Dr Lim and Mohan.

They also proposed that the state waive the rental and licensing fees for all stalls in markets, hawkers' complexes and temporary hawker sites owned by the state and the municipal councils.

The six – Teh, Tan Yeow Joo and Lim Kean Guan from Penang Municipal Council (MPPP), and Dr Lim Boon Han, A. Mohan and Phee Boon Choon from Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) – made the proposals at a press conference at the Penang Gerakan headquarters yesterday.

Teh said that based on the 2007 budgets of the local councils, the proposed steps would cost the MPPP RM53.99mil and the MPSP RM39.38mil.

“For MPPP, the amount is only 28.14% of its total income of RM191.86mil. We believe that with a competent government bent on cutting down on unnecessary overheads and excesses, the council will be able to make it,” he added.

Dr Lim said that for MPSP, the sum was only 26.5% in reduction from its yearly RM148mil income.

“It is not a very big amount, especially with the state government’s idea of transparency, good governance and prudent spending,” he said.

Teh said the measures should reduce the inflationary pressure and help the people, especially the poor and needy, to tide over the difficult period brought about by the fuel price increase and the price hike due to the food crisis.

”While we wait for the Federal Government to help the people throughout the nation, the state government can do something concrete to help the people of Penang,” he said.

Asked if the previous state administration could have introduced such steps, Teh said the situation did not arise in the past as the people were not facing such abnormal circumstances brought about by the food crisis and the Federal Government reducing petrol subsidy.

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