Wednesday, July 8, 2015

MBI dress code must be clear, says committee chairman - The Malaysian Insider


Self-interpretation of what constitutes sopan, or appropriate attire, was what led to the recent dress code incidents at Ipoh City Council (MBI), said Housing and Local Government committee chairman Datuk Saarani Mohamad.
He said MBI needed to make clear what was allowed and what was prohibited, based on existing dress code guidelines.
“For example, some say sopan attire is not too sexy or menjolok mata (eye-catching).
“For Muslims, it is to cover the aurat (intimate parts). Some feel that even if aurat are covered but the clothes are body-hugging, it is still considered sexy.
“The interpretations can vary, which is why some think they are dressed acceptably,” he said.
In commenting on the recent incidents at MBI, where several people, including two elderly siblings, Huang Zheng Zhou, 68, and his sister, Xia Nv, were barred entry to the MBI office in Greentown last Thursday, Saarani said the guidelines were clear in not allowing shorts.
“The public should be aware of and follow the dress code usually applied at government offices.”
He said the code was necessary because, as of late, many people were ignoring the regulations by turning up in improper attire.
He added that he was not aware of any official circular from Putrajaya on the Cabinet’s decision on dress code, despite published reports.
Mayor Datuk Zamri Man said, in light of recent complaints, he would be reviewing the dress code guidelines to make it more customer-oriented.
“We do not intend to turn people away or make their transactions with us difficult. The dress code is meant to be what is publicly acceptable to all.
“I will tell staff to relax on enforcing the dress code for now, until we take a closer look at the existing guidelines,” he said.
Meanwhile, MBI secretary Zakuan Zakaria said he would bring up the matter in a meeting with the mayor and other MBI councillors at a meeting after Hari Raya, in 10 days’ time.
He said he would refrain from commenting for now until a final decision had been reached.
Last week, The Star reported that logistician Eunice Chai was not allowed into the MBI building by security guards for wearing a sleeveless, high-collared top and jeans.
The daily also highlighted Sin Chew Daily’s report of another incident, in which Chen Mei Lan, 49, clad in a short-sleeved blouse and skirt ending below her knees, was not allowed into the MBI office.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Unsung hero of Taman Tinggi - The Malaysian Insider

6 Jul 2015 By Jerry Francis

Retired lorry driver Yeoh Say Bah, 75, has become a celebrity in Taman Tinggi and the surrounding housing estates in Ipoh.
He has become a well-known figure in the local community for his untiring efforts in keeping the children’s playground and jogging track near his house clean and tidy.
Every morning, from Monday to Friday, if the weather permits, he is seen with a cangkul and rack trimming the grass or just generally cleaning up.
It began more than a year ago. One day, he decided to trim the grass around the track and while he was at it, pick up the litter and make sure that the drains were unclogged as well.
In the beginning, everyone thought Yeoh was just eccentric.

While most of the senior citizens were taking a morning walk around the track, he was attending to the playground. 
Some even ridiculed him and asked whether he was being paid by the city council.
He has since been back to tend to the 400m a number of times.
When the regular morning folk taking their exercise there realised that he was doing it for the simple pleasure of seeing the place spick and span, they became much more appreciative of him.
They would often stop to talk with the man, who was always ready for a chat.
A whip-round was even held to to get him a new hoe.
“No-one prompted me to do it. I was just dismayed at the city council’s failure to properly maintain the playground and the jogging track, and decided to do my part,” he told The Malaysain Insider.
“I can’t bear to see all the rubbish, logged drains and overgrown grass.
“By doing something about it, I am also getting some morning exercise.
“I’m glad the residents are appreciative of what I am doing.
“I hope I can inspire them to also keep the neighbourhood clean and tidy,” he said.
His absence from the jogging track recently was a cause of concern for the morning visitors, who had grown used to seeing him around.
His reappearance a few days later was a relief for everyone.
“I had a fall and hurt my shoulder and needed to take a rest,” he explained.
Yeoh is vocal in his criticism of the city council’s failure to keep the housing estates clean.
“Why inspect the houses for mosquito breeding grounds? They should first inspect the drains around the housing estates and clear the overgrown bushes and rubbish dumps regularly,” he said.
He claimed the city council was not efficient enough.
”If I could write, I would send complaint after complaint to the city council and the state government every day,” he said.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Ipoh City Council collected revenue of RM80.1m until March - The Sun Daily

22 April 2015

The Ipoh City Council (MBI) collected revenue of RM80.1 million or 44% until March, up RM3.8 million or 5% over the corresponding period last year.

Ipoh mayor Datuk Harun Rawi said that MBI's revenue in the first three months of this year rose to RM78.6 million compared to RM73.8 million over the corresponding period in 2014.

"The operating expenditure and development of Ipoh City Council totalled RM37.4 million. Payment for management, development and must pay accounts amounted to RM46.7, up RM6.6 million from last year," he said at MBI's full meeting here today.

The MBI will carry out enforcement action to seal factories, industries and business premises at the end of this month for failure to pay assessment tax on property.

Owners who still owe arrears of tax assessment for property are advised to settle them to avoid their premises from being sealed and their assets from being seized.

Harun said MBI and the state government will absorb the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on public facilities such as vehicle parking fees, rental of halls, playing fields, swimming complex and others.
"Services meant for business and profit subjected to 6% GST such as rental of business premises, offices and others will be passed on to consumers and can be reclaimed from the Customs Department as tax input."

Suppliers and contractors were required to submit their GST registration number and supporting documents to MBI's Supply and Procurement Unit as proof of registration with the Customs to facilitate payment.

Haron also said MBI in collaboration with the Town and Country Planning Department and the Perak Town and Country Planning Department had prepared a draft plan to turn Ipoh into a Tin Ore Heritage City.

Assessment rate in Ipoh reduced to 10% - The Sun Daily

1 Jan 2010

IPOH, Dec 31, 2009 : 

From tomorrow, flat, apartment and condominium owners here will only have to pay assessment rate of 10%. 

Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim said the new rate would take effect on the first day of 2010 following a decision by the state government recently.

Hence, he hoped the owners of such premises would not be confused with the old assessment tax rate stated in their bills received earlier. 

"All bills issued by the Ipoh City Council before this showed an assessment tax rate of 16%. The charge will be amended to the new rate of 10%  when the owners come to settle their bills," he told reporters after chairing the council meeting here today. 

Meanwhile, Roshidi said the the arrears in assessment as at November this year had increased by RM1.98 million to RM48.63 million, compared with RM46.65 million for the corresponding period last year. 

Hence, he said, the council would intensify efforts to collect the arrears aggressively in 2010 to achieve the state government's target to collect at least half of the total arrears.

Houseowners in Ipoh to pay between 10% and 276% effective from July 1 - The Star

Jun 29 by Manjit Kaur

RATEPAYERS in Ipoh are fuming mad after they received notices from the Ipoh City Council on the higher assessment rates imposed.
The new assessment rates were fixed after an exercise to revaluate properties was carried out.
The council had revised the rates just last year, where residential ratepayers were required to pay 16.5% compared to the previous rate of 16%.
Canning assemblyman Wong Kah Woh said residents living in Taman Cempaka and Desa Cempaka near here had informed him about the matter a few days ago.
He said that about 3,000 households in both the areas had received the notices, and were very unhappy, as there was an increase of between 10% and 276% in their assessment rates.
“I was told that about 16,000 ratepayers in both the areas, Tambun and Tanjung Rambutan have received such notices since last week.
“I hope the local government will freeze and cancel the exercise, as with the Goods and Services tax and development charges imposed on ratepayers, the hike is not helping to reduce the burden of the people.
“So the council at this juncture should not increase the assessment rates by way of revaluation of the properties, and burden the people further,” he added.
Wong said Ipoh had the highest assessment rate after Kuching compared to nationwide.
Chin Nyuk Voon, 50, from Desa Cempaka said he currently paid RM286.28 in assessment, but with the revaluation of his property, he would be required to pay RM1,079.10.
The insurance agent said he was shocked when he received the notice, because there was an increase of 276%.
Chow Wai Kuan, 39, meanwhile, said before she received the notice she used to pay RM257.40, but was now required to pay RM633.60.
“I have two school-going children, monthly expenditure and various bills to settle.
“We don’t come from a rich family background, and the increase in the rates is drastic,” added Chow who works in a bank.
Senior citizen Chong Soek Ying, 72, from Taman Cempaka said she used to pay RM16.50 in assessment but that the notice now stated she was required to pay RM405.90.
“Where are my husband and I are going to get so much of money to pay the exorbitant hike in the assessment rate.
“We are old people, and we need money for our medical bills. We can’t afford to pay so much in assessment,” she said.
Datuk Bandar Datuk Harun Rawi said the council had issued notices for the amendments made to the annual assessment to a total of 19,193 property owners.
He said the revaluation of the properties in the city was carried out this year, and that the council found several factors that led to the amendments made.
The factors, he said included the revaluation of the yearly assessment from a previous vacant plot of land to a building being constructed there, enforcement carried out on new extensions and illegal renovations, and change in status for property owners.
He said the revaluation exercise was carried out in Tanjung Rambutan, Taman Perpaduan, Tambun and Taman Cempaka.
“The exercise was carried out in 67 residential areas, and to date 16,409 notices have been sent out to the property owners.
“Such an exercise was carried out for the first time after a very long period, and it was also in line with Section 144 (1) of the Local Government Act 1976, which allows revision on property at all times,” he added.
Harun said the difference in the amount varies from one property owner to another, based on the checks carried out at the relevant sites by the council officers.
He said the enforcement date for the amended yearly assessment was effective from July 1.
“Ratepayers can use the proper channel to voice out their objections.
“The council has set up an objections committee for those who are unhappy with the revised rates,” he added.

New mayor aims to sweep clean - The Malaysian Insider


The city's cleanliness is a main concern, says Ipoh's new mayor, Zamri Man.
On his first day in office at 8am today, Zamri said the Ipoh City Council (MBI) was not unlike other local authorities with the same functions and responsibilities, such as the maintenance of parks and drainage systems and management of waste.
“The city's tourism and development are also primary concerns,” he told reporters at a press conference this morning.
When asked if he was aware of complaints against MBI, pertaining to the revised annual assessment rates, Zamri said he was attending to the issue after getting feedback from MBI's advisers. 
"The rates are a form of income for the council and the hike was introduced after taking into account factors such as increased use of space and conversion of designated zones into something else.
"The public need to understand that in order to receive good service, funds are needed,” he said.
He added that he was not averse to dialogues with non-governmental organisations and civil society groups to generate feedback and ideas.
“The participation of all parties is required to solve local issues. Currently, MBI is in touch with residents’ associations and reaching out through the councillors and various committees," he said.
He said he hoped in a year to improve the city, in terms of cleanliness and other criteria set under the state government's Amanjaya policy.
Among the youngest of the city’s previous nine mayors, Zamri acknowledged that he had a huge task ahead.
"I hope MBI’s more experienced personnel will be make up for my lack of experience in terms of years in civil service.
"After all, it is teamwork that produces results," he said.
He later met MBI department heads and councillors in a closed door meeting.

Ipoh council defends hike in assessment rates - The Malaysian Insider


The Ipoh City Council (MBI) is standing by its revision of the annual assessment rates despite a recent outcry against the hike.
Mayor Datuk Harun Rawi said the revised rates were targeted at property owners who had carried out renovations or new construction.
"For example, land lots that were previously empty will obviously have a revised annual assessment rate if a structure has been built on it.
"The same goes for those who carry out renovations or extensions on their property," he said.
He said the revaluation exercise was also a form of enforcement on owners of residential and commercial premises who carried out illegal renovations or converted the use of their premises from its original designation.
"The exercise has been carried out in Tanjung, Perpaduan, Tambun and Taman Cempaka.
"To date, a total 19,193 lots, from 67 residential neighbourhoods, are involved in the exercise," Harun said.
He added that under the city bylaws under Section 144 (2) and the Local Government Act 1976, MBI was required to issue notices on revised annual assessment rates when there was a difference in the annual value.
"A total of 16,409 notices have been issued in the most recent revaluation exercise that has not taken place in years.
"By right, the bylaws allow for the exercise to be carried out at anytime," he said.
Harun said different properties would have different rates based on the checks carried out by MBI.
The assessment rates take effect from July 1.
"Those with any objections are welcome to address their issues with the MBI objections committee," he said.
He said a written complaint could also be submitted based on the deadline specified in the new assessment rates notice.
Property owners can submit their complaints at Level 4 at MBI's Assessment and Property Management Department or contact 05-2083 309 for more information.
The Malaysian Insider had earlier reported that residents in Taman Cempaka, Ipoh, were against the latest hike in assessment rates which had more than doubled for some of them.
Canning assemblyman Wong Kah Woh said he had received numerous complaints last week, after notices on the increased annual rates were issued to property owners in the city.
Wong said the increase generally varied from 10% to 150%, but some people had been charged more than 200%.