Tow days ago, BN Selayang coordinator Jessie Ooi was trying desperately to explain her way out. Not only did she deny that she criticised the alleged increment in assessment rate in Penang during a debate between Lim Guan Eng and Chua Soi Lek, she pointed her finger at Selangor now, saying that when she mentioned about the increment in assessment rate, she was actually referring to Selangor and not Penang.
She became emotional during the debate and with a harsh tone questioned Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in the following manner:
"CM Lim, I am half a Penangite. Just now you said that you want to reduce the burden on the rakyat; and secondly, you said you all earned a lot of money. Now I am telling you, that you have misled the rakyat! This is because assessment rates have increased, prices of commodities have also increased!"
It is obvious that what Jessie Ooi said was that the assessment rate has "increased", but yesterday Jessie Ooi turned around and said that she was actually referring to Selangor instead of Penang. Netizens from Penang have since produced cogent evidence to refute the allegations made by Jessie Ooi.
As a result, and only after a few days have passed, that Jessie Ooi came up with the explanation that she was referring to Selangor and not Penang. I would like to ask Jessie Ooi, if indeed she was not referring to Penang, why did she even need to take 72 hours to clarify the said matter?
Jessie Ooi released a press statement 72 hours later and this is what she said in the press statement:
"Actually I was referring to Selangor PR Government’s unfulfilled election promise that if they were elected they would lower the Selangor’s assessment rate during the election in year 2008. This is an issue about the rakyat being dissatisfied with the Selangor PR Government. News report saying that I was referring to the Penang assessment rate is therefore incorrect."
Secondly, if indeed she was criticising Selangor, that Selangor PR Government failed to lower the assessment rate as promised, why, then, did she say that the assessment rate has "increased" instead of "not lowered"? Clearly "increased" and "not lowered" are two totally different and unrelated matters.
Thirdly, why did she put the blame on media for misreporting? Almost every single media, be it the newspapers, the internet or electronic media, have accurately reported her remarks at that point in time. Just because she has expressed it wrongly, she should not have blamed everything on the media; instead, she should apologise to the public immediately instead.
In fact, for almost four years since PR took over the administration of Selangor, it has never raised a single sen in assessment rate. Some local council have not revised their assessment rate for more than ten years, an example being the Kajang Municipal Council (Majlis Perbandaran Kajang or MPKj), which never raised its assessment rate since the year of 1985.
Ironically, some district council like Petaling Jaya City Council (Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya or MBPJ) has raised its assessment rate from 8% to 8.8% during the era of BN as Selangor government, despite fierce opposition from rakyat.
In contrast with the current situation after PR took over the administration of Selangor, MBPJ in 2009 actually lowered the assessment rates for high rise apartments and condominiums by 2%. This year itself MBPJ has also passed a policy, whereby property converted into energy efficient building will be entitled for rebate in assessments.
My statements above are backed by sufficient evidence to refute the criticism directed by Jessie Ooi towards the Selangor PR Government. However, I am wondering if Jessie Ooi could produce any evidence to support her claim that the Selangor Government has increased the assessment rate. If not, I strongly advise Jessie Ooi to issue a public apology for her misleading and incorrect remark.