KUCHING, Dec 28 — Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) today slammed the state government for increasing the quit rent for land and landed or commercial properties beginning January 1 next year when business activities are yet to fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
PBK president Voon Lee Shan said the state government, before deciding to increase the quit rent, should have taken into account the fact that many businesses had closed down during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“How could business people who own property be able to make money to pay the increased quit rent when ordinary people are still having weak purchasing power?” he asked in a statement.
He said the increase in quit rents will lead to an increase in the prices of goods and services.
He noted that in some properties, the increase in quit rent is fivefold.
He noted that the quit rent for shophouses is to be increased from RM0.22 to RM1.62 per square metre while for some commercial properties, the rate is increased from RM0.20 to RM1.46 per square metre.
“If businesses cannot pick up, it may have a domino effect in many economic sectors,” Voon said.
He said given the current circumstances, it does not make sense for the Lands and Survey Department to say the increase is justified on the reason that the quit rent in Sarawak is the lowest in Malaysia.
“In Malaya, the rent which is higher than in Sarawak at the moment is justified because goods and services there are very much cheaper than in Sarawak.
“Further the Sarawak government does not need the money from the quit rent because it is rich and has a surplus annual state Budget,” he added.
He urged the state government to reduce or absorb the quit rent for 2023 so that business activities can pick up.
In a statement early today, the Lands and Survey Department said that the state government approved the revision of the quit rent on June 16 this year, adding that the current quit rent has been in use since 1994.
The department said based on the gazette on June 30, 2022, only 59,710 land title deeds are involved in the revision or 8 per cent of the total 734,388 title deeds registered in Sarawak.
It said the new rate for shophouses is to be increased from RM0.22 to RM1.62 per square metre; for commercial property, ports and mining, it is from RM0.20 to RM1.46 per square metres.
The new rate for land for industrial use is to be increased from RM0.09 to RM0.43 per square metre; for office use and mixed development from RM0.05 to RM0.23 per square metres; for recreational use from RM0.3 to RM0.12 per square metre and for land use for oil and gas industries, it is at a flat rate of RM0.54 per square metres.
The department said for other land uses the rate is from RM0.02 to RM0.08 per square metres.
It also said for agricultural land with an area of more than 100 acres (40.47 hectares) (commercial farm), the new land tax rate is RM30 per hectare.