DRIVE along the Federal Highway and there is a high likelihood of seeing old bunting and banners dumped in between the metal divider.
The highway is a common dumping ground for contractors engaged to put up new advertisements, in the form of bunting and banners.
The maintenance of the Federal Highway is the responsibility of the Public Works Department (JKR).
Although the highway comes under JKR’s purview, the licences for bunting and banners are issued by local councils.
The matter was raised by councillors, who received numerous complaints from motorists, at the recent Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) full board meeting.
However, despite highlighting the matter to JKR, the responsibility to clear the bunting and banners was pushed back to the city council.
JKR’s rationale was that since MBSA issued the licence, it should also follow-up with the contractors.
“We can take it down and issue compounds to the contractors immediately but this cannot be a long-term solution.
“If MBSA has to do this, then it will become a routine when it is not our responsibility,” said former Shah Alam mayor Datuk Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad.
He also urged MBSA’s staff to show written proof from JKR officers if asked to clear the banners.
“If they want us to remove them, then we will bill JKR for the work,” he stressed.
JKR director Datuk Ruslan Abdul Aziz said that without its permission, the bunting and banners were deemed illegal.
“MBSA and other local councils issue licences for the banners but the advertising companies and contractors should get our permission before displaying such materials on our road,” added Ruslan.
JKR, he said had asked MBSA to take action and issue summonses to those behind the illegal banners.
To find a permanent solution, JKR is planning to set up light boxes for digital advertisements.
“This way anyone who wants to advertise will have to get our permission.
“This will ensure we can control the situation and maintain cleanliness along the highway,” he added.
Ruslan, however, admitted that clearing the debris on the highway was its responsibility.
Unfortunately, it was unable to clear discarded bunting and banners daily due to lack of manpower.
He added that these advertising materials were also changed regularly, some overnight.
“We will clear the highway of banners but the very next day, you find new ones put up. The old banners are just left by the divider,” said Ruslan.
The issue of old banners left at the divider does not augur well with road users.
Residents in Subang Jaya and Shah Alam were unhappy that basic maintenance along the heavily used highway was not being looked into.
Singam Muniandy from USJ 11 said the sight of old bunting strewn along the highway on his drive from Klang to Subang Jaya was an eyesore.
“Contractors putting up new banners remove old ones and leave them at the divider,” he said, adding that it was ridiculous for the old banners to be discarded in such a manner because they posed danger to motorists.
He said during windy and rainy days, these banners were an obstacle to road users if they were blown away and subsequently, landed on cars.
USJ 12 Residents Association chairman Datuk Nor Azman Abdul Rahman described it as a long-standing issue with residents.
He said complaints were lodged to several agencies but no concrete action was taken.
“The problem does not fall under the Subang Jaya Municipal Council’s (MPSJ) purview but something has to be done about it. It creates a bad image for Subang Jaya,” he added.
Azman said it was also a bad example for children travelling with their parents to see the unkempt road conditions.
He said children had to understand the importance of cleanliness and learning good habits from young was vital to build their foundation.
USJ 18 resident Lee Chai Choon said there were also other debris left on the highway that could lead to serious accidents.
He said he had seen car parts left after accidents, dead trees and unkempt shrubs growing wild along the highway.
“Such debris can block water flow and create flash floods that contribute to traffic congestion.
“I have seen speeding lorries causing debris to fly onto cars. Imagine it hitting a vehicle’s windscreen,” he added.
“It seems like the highway is no man’s land. Anyone can do anything. How can government bodies pass the buck? It is ridiculous,” said Lee.