Residential property owners in Sarawak will continue to enjoy reduced assessment rates next year, said Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.
In breaking this good news to Sarawakians yesterday, he said the Sarawak government had no intention of reviewing the assessment rates in view of the potential rising cost of living.
He thus assured that there will be no change in the residential property assessment rates as people usher in 2019.
"No increase of assessment rates next year as cost of living is an issue that many of our Sarawakians are facing," he said when contacted by The Borneo Post here.
Dr Sim, who is Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP) president, said many councils in the state were experiencing revenue shortfall following the Sarawak government's decision to bring down the residential property assessment rates in 2016.
Giving an example, he said the Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) registered RM6 million less in revenue per year following the reduced assessment rates.
He was quick to add that the Sarawak government needs to help the council with the revenue shortfall.
According to Dr Sim, the reduced assessment rates have benefited as many as 85 per cent residential property owners across Sarawak.
On April 27, 2016, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, then chief minister, announced that the Sarawak government had reduced the residential property assessment rates to help the people cope with the rising cost of living.
He added that the state administration could afford the subsidy after calculating the potential loss in revenue.
A circular was then issued, pointing out that nine tiers of annual assessment rates for residential rateable holdings were to receive between 10 and 90 per cent reductions.
Such reductions applied to those paying RM50.01 to RM700 a year while those paying RM50 and below would have their assessment fees waived.
A few months after the announcement, Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil was quoted as saying that the new rates "counted as a policy and not a mere discount" would continue to stand and be effective until further directive from the Sarawak government.