Time for MPPJ to be more progressive

SINCE the publication of my letter "MPPJ taking a step backward by not accepting cheques" (The Star, Oct 9, 1998), I made two more attempts to settle my assessment rates for the second half of 1998 by cheque, but all to no avail.

Soon after the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) had rejected my first cheque, it sent me a "Notis Salinan Hasil' Taksiran" which included a surcharge due to late payment. On the back of this "Notis" and under "Cara cara membayar" it was stated that "Cek-Cek dan wang-wang kiriman dan sebagainya hendak di palang..."

Happy that at last the council would accept cheques, I quickly forwarded one to MPPJ for payment. But alas, the cheque was again rejected and the "Notis" returned with a stamp stating that "Bayaran dalam bentuk tunai, deraf bank dan wang kiriman pos sahaja".

Furthermore, the statement that "Cek-cek dan wang-wang kiriman..." was deliberately cancelled. I wrote a letter of appeal to the "Yang Dipertua MPPJ" explaining to him what had happened and requested that my cheque be accepted. But again it was returned with a letter from the Director of the Treasury Department stating that it was the policy of MPPJ not to accept cheques!

In the meantime I learnt that MPPJ assessment rates could be settled by cheques at designated public utility payment counters such as at post offices, TNB, and Telekom.

As the postoffice at Kampung Tunku was nearest to my residence, I went there specifically to enquire and was informed that MPPJ assessment rates could be paid there by cheques but only between the months of January and February and between July and August of each year.

Feeling relieved that at last a post office was willing to accept cheques for payment, I patiently waited for January to arrive.

When the post office at Kampung Tunku opened this year, I went on Jan 4 and presented my cheque and the "Notis" to the counter staff, I was told that payment for the "Notis Salinan Hasil Taksiran" could only be made at MPPJ and he pointed out a statement printed on this "Notis" for my attention.

Apparently only "Bil Cukai Taksiran" could be paid at the post office. In the first place if MPPJ does not accept cheques for payment of assessment rates why does it allow post offices and other authorised agencies to accept them or will MPPJ soon make a policy disallowing these agencies to accept them too?

If payments are allowed to be made at those agencies, why impose restrictions on the timing and the type of "Notis" that payments could be made there?

Whether payments are in the form of cheque, cash, postal order or bank draft, MPPJ will still have to present them to its bank in order that they be credited into its account. There is practically no extra work involved in dealing with cheques unless they have been dishonoured.

Therefore, the policy of MPPJ of not accepting cheques is regressive and not in keeping with modern administrative and financial procedures in running the affairs of the council.

Petaling Jaya is a vibrant and a progressive township and the policy adopted should at least reflect this. Payment by credit/charge cards and cheques are by far the most convenient and hassle-free method compared with the outdated mode of payment by cash, bank draft or postal order.

I am certain that many ratepayers in Petaling Jaya do possess credit/charge cards and that the majority of them have current bank accounts. Policies adopted should not unnecessarily inconvenience the ratepayers.

The major portion of MPPJ's revenue is derived from property assessment rates and therefore convenience must play a big role in ensuring their prompt payments. It has been reported that MPPJ would be opening new branch offices to make it easier for the ratepayers to settle their dues. But this action may not be as effective as allowing payments to be made by cheques.

nakedeyeview.com.my 2008