PETALING Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has ramped up its fight against illegal dumping – its Legal Department has begun using state laws to push for imprisonment instead of just issuing compounds and seizing the vehicles.
Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said the council’s legal officers had been told to urge the court to impose a maximum fine and jail term for those involved in illegal dumping as their irresponsible action marred the environment.
“Imprisonment is needed because offenders take it lightly as they think they can get away easily by paying the fine and reclaiming their vehicles.
“Our aim is to send the message that MBPJ is serious about curbing this problem as people’s money in the form of taxes are used for the clean-up operations,” he said.
Under the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171) it allows a maximum fine of RM5,000 or two years’ jail or both for the offence of illegal dumping.
Mohd Azizi said that in 2015, three cases were taken to court and another two from January to April this year.
All five cases are ongoing and the council’s legal team is pushing for the jail sentence.
“We have repeat offenders in these five cases,” he pointed out.
For 2015 and 2016, MBPJ seized seven lorries and issued 279 compounds over dumping of building debris along riverbanks and secluded private lands.
He said illegal dumping had become the single largest operational challenge for the Solid Waste Management Department and the Enforcement Department.
“Our clean-up cost for two months from Feb 15 to April 15 hit RM995,000, where 2,081 tonnes of renovation debris, furniture, garden refuse and other litter were collected.
“It involved 92 areas including 16 hotspots,” he elaborated.
The council defines litter as improperly throwing a small amount of household garbage or discarding an empty plastic or bottle in a public area.
The improper disposal of a larger volume of household waste or bulk waste such as furniture constitutes illegal dumping.
Mohd Azizi explained that the cost was high because clearing the garbage required heavy equipment including tractors and big trucks and the whole exercise was labour intensive as well as time consuming.
He said that with constant monitoring, especially of known hotspots, MBPJ managed to stop illegal dumping at Jalan Masjid, Jalan Anggerik, Jalan Cempaka in Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara, Jalan 18/17 in Section 18, Jalan 17/44, Jalan 17A/12 and Jalan 17/45 in Section 17.
“We have a number of rivers and streams in Petaling Jaya.
“Sungai Kayu Ara, parallel to SS25/20 in Taman Mayang, is a major hotspot while other areas we are monitoring are PJS 5 near the river and Taman Perindustrian Jaya,” he said.
He noted that the culprits had become bold and would even dispose the garbage in the daytime and not just in the dark of night.
“During clean-up operations, we see household appliances, kitchen cabinets, construction debris and even hazardous waste that may endanger public health,” he said.
MBPJ Solid Waste Management Department director Lee Lih Shyan stressed that there was a need for citizen involvement to counter illegal dumping as it was a growing problem polluting rivers.
“Call us, we will respond to it but we need the right information,” he said.
He added that the objective now was not to issue compounds but to record sufficient information and hold the culprits accountable, and court action was part of MBPJ’s stepped-up efforts to stop the menace.
Mohd Azizi reiterated that illegal dumping would not be ignored and that the council would not tolerate the illegal act.
MBPJ assistant legal officer Mohd Yusof Che Aziz said there was no precedent yet in Malaysia where jail sentence was meted out for illegal dumping.
“If the court decides on a jail term for illegal dumping as requested by MBPJ’s legal officers against repeated offenders, it will be the first for the council and in the country,” he added.
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