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‘New rates will cripple Labuan’s economy’
Published on: Thursday, November 07, 2019
By: Sohan Das

LABUAN: The assessment rates based on a new valuation report for the commercial, residential and industrial sectors here have come as a “bomb” to the Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce (LCCC).

Describing the drastic increase in rates as thoughtless and unsympathetic, LCCC Chairman Datuk Wong Kii Yii (pic) said it would have a crippling effect on the island’s sluggish economy. 

“Despite having appealed to the Labuan Corporation (LC) not to increase the rates as this is not the right time, it had ignored the appeal and went ahead to review the rates with unreasonable payment amounts.

“The more than 100 per cent hike in the assessment rates for the commercial, residential and industrial sectors next year does not reflect the present gloomy economic situation of the island where many businesses are struggling to make ends meet,” he said.

He said the new rates would leave some businessmen with only two options. 

“One is to fold up their business and the other is to increase the prices and pass the higher cost of doing business to the consumers. 

“This will further escalate the cost of living here, which has been described as high, and the Government unable to address it,” he said, adding that some businessmen may also reduce staff.

Wong doubted that the new Valuation List had been done with proper studies because it had not taken factors into account such as the present reduced population of the island said to have dropped from 100,000 to 80,000 and its high unemployment rate. 

“Many warehouses, storage yards and residential houses are vacant with owners having no income from such properties,” he said.  

He said the Federal Territories Ministry should be assisting to rejuvenate the island’s economy and create more employment opportunities so that the properties have tenants and people have jobs. 

“What has been claimed is that investors are coming but no one has seen any landing here.

“Instead of squeezing ratepayers, the Labuan Corporation should be more prudent in its spending and cut down on wastage.” 

Based on the new valuation report, a former cinema now used as a duty-free shop, which paid RM3,690 assessment this year, has to pay RM14,346 next year, and a semi-detached house which paid  RM468 this year will have to pay RM984 next year. The new Valuation List for next year is now on display at Wisma Perbadanan and anyone can make an objection and appeal in writing. 



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