THEY are persistent, resilient and know how to pick a strategic location.
They work hard, never stop and never give up. Such admirable traits for a person to have; yet there is nothing respectable about what they do.
And judging from the lori sewa sign nailed on a tree in front of my house, which has now moved several notches above the previous one; it is evident they are using some hi-tech collapsible ladder that could easily reach 20ft in height.
If I am going to beat them at their own game, I need to invest in a similar ladder.
If you are wondering who I’m ranting about, they are the denizens of the city who sneak out in the dead of night when Kuala Lumpur is asleep to put up those ugly and unsightly banners, bunting, and stickers in our neighbourhood.
Residents already have to put up with rubbish, noise, dog poo, potholes and double-parking on a daily basis in our neighbourhood, it is upsetting to see the only tree in front of my house being desecrated too.
As a journalist, I have been reporting on this topic for over a decade. Local governments have tried everything to stop them – from high-tech gadgets like the billboard management system which uses radio frequency identification technology to locate illegal billboards and banners, to tracking down offenders using mobile phone numbers and investing in non-stick surface preparation technology – nothing has worked.
DBKL staff removing illegal bunting in the city. The local authority is doing all it can to rid the city of this menace. — filepic
To be fair, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) have done its best to rid the city of the menace including paying employees overtime to remove the eyesores and repair damaged public property.
As I am a member of the DBKL WhatsApp group monitoring illegal advertisements, I can vouch for the individuals who work night and day to bring them down; it never stops and is similar to fighting fire.
City Hall spends RM5mil a year to bring down the illegal advertisements, according to its executive director (socio-economic development) Datuk Ibrahim Yusof but it is time and money that could be put to better use.
The people who put up these materials are so bold that even a warning letter from the local authority has no impact.
Ibrahim said unlike before, where the violators used to be Ah Long or moneylenders and small businesses, now they are mostly large businesses looking for untaxed income.
The tragedy is that they fail to realise the damage they are causing to the environment.
That one little banner / bunting / poster that was RM2 a piece is costing taxpayers millions to remove.
Some have no qualms about paying the RM2,000 fine when they can rake in millions from a weekend event. But it does not end there as these materials cannot be recycled.
After the event is over, it will end up in our drains and eventually rivers and landfills and would take years to degrade.
Enough is enough; we cannot look the other way anymore. Some-thing must be done to stop the situation from becoming chronic.
While DBKL is looking at reviewing the current maximum fine of RM2,000 to RM50,000 as a deterrent, let us all lend City Hall a helping hand.
We should emulate the good folk in Bangsar, Taman Desa and Sri Hartamas by bringing down each and every poster, banner and bunting.
Start in your own taman, the jalan that you live in, the tree, lamp-post, road sign in front of your house and let’s bring them down!
Better still let’s name and shame them. I invite everyone reading this article to bring down that eyesore, take a picture, use the hashtag #bringitdown and upload it on your Facebook page.
Good luck everyone. Now excuse me while I shop for a ladder.