The accused was alleged to have dishonestly used a portion of the money collected from payments made by the public to the council.
So, ok, how does this happen? I've been wanting to blog about this but had not the time. As a matter of fact, I had approached Bentayan SA Gwee Tong Hiang to highlight that there could be some possible accounting problems happening in Majlis Perbandaran Muar (MPM). It regards cukai harta.
We are required to pay cukai harta twice a year, on a half-yearly basis. The bills are sent out normally in January and July each year and property owners are given a grace period of two months to pay up. Failing which, a notice (Borang E) will be issued and a fine of RM5.00 is imposed on late payment.
I received the green Bil Cukai Harta from MPM in July this year and purposely waited (or call it procrastination) till the last working day of August to make payment. Time-stamped 08:27AM dated 29/08/2008, I made the payment at MPM using a credit card.
At the back of the Bil Cukai Harta, it is written that 'Bil yang dicap degan Mesin Penerima Majlis sahaja diakui sah penerimaan pembayarannya'. So yes, when I made my payments, my Bil Cukai Harta was machine-stamped to indicate payment. If you are wondering why I'm beating around the bush rather than going straight to the point, please be patient as you will eventually understand why I need to do so
So, on 29/08/2008 I made my payments to MPM, right? Surprise, surprise, some 3 weeks later, I received a blue coloured 'notis supaya membayar tunggakan kadar'. That's also known as Borang E. That meant, in MPM's accounting records, I had not make payments and therefore this is a notice to me to pay up within 15 days from the date of notice. I was given until 29/09/2008 to make payment although I've already paid.
Some might want to think that this is an isolated case and could be a genuine mistake, right? Hold on your horses.
I spoke to my neighbour and showed him my bills and told him that something is definitely wrong somewhere. He then said that he received the blue notice (Borang E) too and had just make payments a day earlier. Immediately he went inside his house and searched all this bills and presto, he discovered he had made payments for the second half 2008 earlier. Double payment, correct?
He brought along both his bills and went over to MPM to make enquiries about his double payments and to get a refund. After the clerk went through his bills, checking the computer and jotting down something, he was told that it will be reflected in next year's bill.
I am sceptical that it will be reflected in next year's bill. However, I am optimistic that we are not the only ones and this could just be the tip of the iceberg.
Was it last year or the year before that the same thing happened to me. I remember vividly that I had made payment but received the blue notice later. However, due to poor housekeeping, I couldn't find the green bill that was validated.
When I went to MPM to make enquiries, I saw that I wasn't the only one. There were a few others but they had with them the green bills and hence they did not have to make a repeat payment. When I enquired, I was bluntly told that if I had made payments, then I must produce proof of payment. To which, I had no answer but to pay up.
I had paid by cash and there was no other evidence of payment except the validated green bill. It was a lost cause. I paid up.
Ever since that day, I've been mindful of dealing with MPM in regards to paying cukai harta. I would make sure that I would at least have another way to prove that payment had been made. Hence, I made use of credit cards.
So you see, if you make payment by cash, you have no other alternative to prove payment except for the validated green bill. If you had paid by cheque, credit card or through banks, there would exist somewhere a record of your payment. However, if you forgotten about it altogether that you had paid earlier and make a repeat payment for the same bill, God Bless You.
It is now October and in 3 months' time, we will be receiving a new green bill from MPM. I'm in catch-22 situation. Should I wait till January 2009 or to immediately approach MPM for an answer? I decided to wait out. That's because of 2 situations currently existing.
One, I had paid and am issued a blue Borang E. That means I have not made any repeat payment.
Two, my neighbour had paid and was issued a blue Borang E. That means he made payments twice.
Come January 2009, what will our green Bil Cukai Harta show? That's the question that require answer. I will wait out.
However, if there are more than the 2 of us, and that nobody does anything, could there be possibly a scam or perhaps a CBT taking place at MPM?
I shall continue with part 2 as to why I had decided not to follow Gwee Tong Hiang to MPM this morning to follow up on this issue. Gwee had earlier booked an appointment with the S/U to meet at 10 this morning.
I therefore once again apologise to Gwee for not being able to accompany him to keep the appointment with the S/U. However, I had SMS-ed him this morning.