Ipoh City Council , do not intimidate the people!

By Augustine Anthony; Chairman, Ipoh City Watch

The City of Ipoh has an approximate population of 710,000 people. Not all are well versed with legal principles to scrutinize and understand news report that may send panic and jittery feelings amongst the residents, especially if such news report touches on legal issues.

It is for this reason that those who are in positions of authority, when called upon to make an announcement in public or when called upon to give a press statement, exercise great care to prevent anxiety and anger amongst the residents.

Take for example the recent news report that appeared in the Star newspaper on 03.08.2009 under caption “Door to door collection” in which, the said news was carried in the following fashion:-

“Ipoh city folks who have defaulted in their assessment payments should not be surprised if they receive knocks on their doors from Ipoh City Council enforcement officers. Datuk Bandar Datuk Roshidi Hashim said the council had sent out enforcement teams to demand payment from defaulters.”

Read the full Star Online report here

If indeed the Mayor had said this as reported in the news paper, then one possessed with some legal knowledge would think of it as an irresponsible comment that is likely to send wrong signal to the public.

Such news would give the impression that the Ipoh City Council is engaging in intimidating tactics to demand payments from those who may have defaulted payments of their assessments.

Does the Local Government Act 1976 empower local council enforcement officers to knock on the doors of defaulters and demand payments?

And if the enforcement officers are not possessed of such powers, then the next question that beckons answer is whether their act of knocking on the doors and causing embarrassments to the “purported” defaulters constitute nuisance and other tortious acts that may give rise to defaulters seeking appropriate remedies in courts.

The Local Government Act 1976 has stipulated the needed framework for the charging of rates, proceedings in default, proceedings for recovery of an arrear and the right to bring a civil suit for the recovery as and when it is required.

The relevant provisions under the Local Government Act 1976 can be summarized as follows:-

    A default must take place as defined under Section 147 of the Act. A default according to section 147 would ordinarily trigger proceedings for the recovery of an arrear.

  1. Section 148 provides the compulsory statutory requirements that must be met on a step by step basis by the local council for recovery of an arrear.
  2. The local council must (and it is mandatory) serve a notice in Form E as provided under the first schedule by posting or delivering to the owner or any one of the owners (if there ae more than one) at the last known address calling on him to pay the arrear within 15 days of the posting or the delivery.
  3. If the defaulter does not respond within the 15 days from the date of the notice, then the local council may proceed with the issuance of form F and form G and exercise all the powers provided for under Section 149 – Section 156 for the purpose of recovery of the arrears.

Nowhere in the Local Government Act 1976, there exists any provision for the local council officers to knock on the doors of purported defaulters and demand payments.

There are other questions that invite further answers namely:-.

  1. Since there are no such powers to knock on the doors of residents and demand payments, could this exercise be considered as an abuse of power?
  2. When is the appropriate time the enforcement officers are likely to knock on the doors of residents?
  3. If the enforcement officers come knocking during office hours, there is a high chance that this would also involve waste of city council resources and public funds as it is unlikely that people will be in their respective houses during this time.
  4. If the enforcement officers knock on city folk’s homes after office hours then this may involve additional cost in the form of allowances or for enforcement officers and yet again may involve a waste of public funds.

Perhaps the Ipoh City Council may have certain recalcitrant defaulters in its mind and this may not necessarily be the majority of the ordinary city folks and if that is so, then it would be more prudent to pursue the appropriate legal recourse that is available and refrain from causing unnecessary panic and anxiety amongst these ordinary city folks by such announcements.

  1. #1 by Better Malaysia on Wednesday, 5 August 2009 - 10:37 am

    The local authorities of Perak was doing well while under the Pakatan State Government. I wonder why there is a shift of direction when the “haram” MB from Barisan Najis toke over.

    Their rubbish collection at various location around Ipoh have also gone uncollected and schedule are ad hoc basis. I have my various report in my hand to proof it as I have personally went to the City Hall to complain.

    Acting very high handed and bullying the poor and defenceless rakyat of Perak.

  2. #2 by SpeakUp on Wednesday, 5 August 2009 - 12:36 pm

    Mr LKS … what is the officers are knocking to see why people have not paid? Maybe they are pleasant and not rude? Would that be wrong? I don’t know … if hutang then pay la … as long as don’t do Ah Long style …

  3. #3 by Joshua Tan Kok Hauw on Wednesday, 5 August 2009 - 2:05 pm

    Perak is being by a illegal state government which has never respected the law, how can we expect the city council under its rule to respect the law?

    Oh God, please dissolve the SLA of Perak so that justice will rule and the power be returned to the people.

  4. #4 by johnnypok on Thursday, 6 August 2009 - 12:32 am

    The Satan of Berak must admit his mistake, and allow the people to choose their legitimate leaders.

You must be logged in to post a comment.