SMC to be reimbursed RM15 mln due to lowering of assessment rates

Ting (second right)presenting the letter to a representative of a hawker association while Dr Sim (fourth right) looks on.

SIBU, Feb 22: Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) will be reimbursed the RM15 million shortfall which came about due to the lowering of the assessment rate from 2016 to 2019.

During his visit fo the SMC office today, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the State Government with the approval of the cabinet had consented to give that amount to the council.

“During the last two years, I heard that SMC was in deficit of RM15 million. All this was because during Tok Nan’s time as the chief minister, he revised the assessment rate up to 0 per cent. Due to this, SMC incurred a deficit of RM15 million over four years,” he said.

Sim said despite the lower income, SMC was able to maintain its services to the people which included grass cutting, street lighting, garbage collection among others.

“The assessment rate collection was down but we still managed to provide municipal services to the people,” he said.

Dr Sim said the State Government would not hike the assessment rate despite their lower collection of assessment rate.

“Ours is a people-centric policy as despite the lower income from rate, we will not increase the assessment rate but instead will continue with Tok Nan’s policies. All these are possible as Sarawak under GPS is prosperous and strong,” he assured.

The state under the GPS government, he said was also self reliant as it sourced for its own funds instead of asking from the Federal government as it had previously when the country was under Barisan Nasional.

“Next two years, if the people trust us, the state income of RM5 billion to RM6 billion will be increased to RM20 billion a year. That is why we can give back RM15 million to SMC,” he added.

On the urban renewal plan where Sibu and Kuching had been selected, Dr Sim said SUPP Bukit Assek chairman Datuk Chieng Buong Toon had been appointed as the adviser for the plan.

“This urban renewal plan will be carried out under the 12th Malaysia Plan. GPS is seriously looking deep into the plan as it is not a small ad hoc plan. The plan is not just for a small community as we want it to cover on the development of economic, education, commerce and so on,” he said.

On Petros station, he said Sibu town would also get to have one besides two in Kuching.

Dr Sim said a proper site with an area of 3 to 5 acres of land was needed to build the station.

Earlier he approved a sum of RM500,000 for the development of Sibujaya Pasar Tamu.

At the function, SMC chairman, Councillor Clarence Ting presented agreement letter to two hawker associations, Sibu Division and Meradong District Hawkers Association. —DayakDaily