TAWAU: The new president of Tawau Municipal Council (TMC), Datuk Ir Hj Amrullah Hj Kamal, has outlined his objective to recover about RM16 million of overdue assessment tax to reduce the council’s deficit account for next year.
Amrullah said TMC needs financial allocation to develop Tawau and in view of the budget deficit of RM8 million for 2020, which does not look encouraging, TMC needs to find ways to get more allocation for next year.
“After going through the state of the accounts, it was found that there are a lot of arrears of almost RM16 million,” he said at a press conference during the welcoming dinner for him, his deputy Koh Kina Leong @ Toni Koh and the new Tawau police chief, ACP Peter Ak Umbuas, on Monday night that was jointly organized by the Tawau Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Tawau Reporters Association.
Amrullah said he had directed the council staff to notify those with overdue arrears payment in an amiable way through ‘Ops Ketam’ in order to encourage them to make payment for mutual benefit.
“Should the council be able to receive the overdue arrears payment on the assessment tax, then the council’s account can become healthy and would have the financial means to further develop Tawau,” he said.
“Indeed, my objective to ensure Tawau is developed, to make preparations for larger developments in the near future,” he said, adding that the council needs to ensure basic facilities such as water, roads, sewage, flood mitigation and others are in place. All these need strong financial resources, therefore, we have to think outside the box,” he said.
Amrullah suggested that perhaps the first step is to find ways such as through the media to reach those who have overdue arrears payments.
“Please come forward to settle your overdue assessment, as the council has already taken steps to make it easier for those to come forward willingly and openly,” he said.
He said others steps could perhaps be through the use of CTOS, which the council had discussed and CTOS had agreed with the consent of the Local Government and Housing Minister, that it will blacklist those who have outstanding assessment arrears from getting a loan.
“And we may also prevent them from extending their license through a blacklist similar to i-Sekat,” he said.
The council, he added, will only renew their license once payment of the arrears is made, which means that they cannot do business until they clear their outstanding assessments.
Amrullah said TMC can also offer other forms of payments such as for house assessment tax which alone is already close to RM15 million in arrears and other taxes, such as license processing, which is almost RM800,000 in arrears.
“So we have to approach and tell them in a friendly way, as they may have forgotten to pay, have been too busy, that they can pay by instalments or that we can give a discount on the interest charged,” he said.
In that way, if they can settle the outstanding arrears, TMC’s account can be healthy next year, and, God willing, with more financial resources, Tawau will be different,” he said.
Also present at the welcoming dinner were Deputy Chief Minister cum Tawau member of parliament Datuk Christina Liew, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department cum Sri Tanjong assemblyman Datuk Jimmy Wong, Kalabakan member of parliament Ma’mun Sulaiman, Balung assemblyman Datuk Osman Jamal, Apas assemblyman Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan and Tawau Chinese Chamber of Commerce chairman Chia Seong Fatt.