FOR years, the people of Sitiawan in Manjung, Perak, have been dealing with the problem of fly infestation.
Some of them have spent hundreds of ringgit on fly-deterrent measures.
For 36-year-old coffeeshop owner Joseph Chong Cheng Soon from Kampung Baru Sitiawan, the situation is getting unbearable.
“A large box of sticky fly paper can easily be filled within a few weeks.
“I use 10 to 15 sheets of the fly paper daily,” he told StarMetro.
“The problem affects my business.
“I have customers complaining about it and some have said that it is similar to what is happening in Segari.”
He said he had lodged complaints with the Manjung District Office, but until now, no one had met him to deal with the problem.
“How long should we suffer like this?” asked Chong, who opened his coffeeshop a year ago.
According to the affected residents, the fly infestation in Manjung has been going on for many years, with some locals putting it at some 30 years.
In 2019, Lumut villagers claimed that nearby poultry farms had contaminated the water supply, thereby drawing swarms of flies.
Former Manjung district councillor Khairil Azhar Khairuddin, 45, said he spent at least RM100 every month on organic fly repellent sprays.
“I live in Bandar Lama Sitiawan and the situation is not as bad as the one in Bandar Baru.
“However, during the monsoon season, there will be lots of flies,” he said, believing the pests were from the poultry farms.
“My house is located quite far from the farms but is close to shops selling chicken.
“When I was a councillor, we believed that farms used an old system for waste disposal that attracted the flies,” he said.
Khairil said the only way to resolve the problem would be to change the system.
“I hope the government will urge farm owners to change the system.
“This issue has been going on for years and seriously, it needs to be solved,” he stressed.
Another resident, who wanted to be known only as Kamaliah, hoped the matter would be dealt with urgently.
Having spent a great deal of money on fly paper, repellent sprays and sanitisers, the housewife said she continuously had to ensure that her house was clean and free of the pest.
“It is trying and stressful when the flies keep coming.
“It doesn’t matter if my house is spotless, the flies still enter,” said Kamaliah, who has lived in Kampung Baru for two years.
“It is really uncomfortable for my family.
“Despite my husband complaining to the district office several times, nothing is being done.
“Flies carry many diseases and I have young children,” she said, and expressed worry that her children would fall ill.
Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa) vice-chairman Noor Ismady Ahmad Radzuan said research needed to be done on the type of feed being used at poultry farms.
“Manjung is the biggest poultry supplier in peninsular Malaysia. Therefore, many locals here rely on the poultry farms to make a living.
“There should be research on the grains fed to the chickens as the amount of waste produced is one of the reasons for the fly infestation here,” he said.
Noor Ismady urged the state government to do more than just issue compounds to the farmers, such as increasing the sum to ensure that they took the matter more seriously.
“Some farmers rather pay the compound than improve their waste disposal system with the right technology,” he added.
Meanwhile, Perak local government committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi said that up until June, 26 compound notices had been issued to poultry farmers in Sitiawan this year.
“The Manjung District Office and the district Veterinary Services Department have conducted several operations.
“The farmers were ordered to clean up their farms within 30 days from the date the compounds were issued.
“The district office has also sprayed an ultra low-volume mist in the affected residential areas to help reduce flies,” she said.
Nolee added that 19 complaints had been recorded in Manjung this year alone.