GEORGE TOWN (Bernama): The Penang government will hold a discussion with stakeholders before it decides to implement a plastic bag levy of 50 sen instead of the 20 sen imposed now.
Chief Minister, Chow Kon Yeow, said the proposal was discussed at a state exco meeting yesterday (March 29), but he has asked for stakeholders to acquire more input from the public before it is carried out.
"In Penang, we've found that although there is a plastic bag levy, people are still willing to pay it.
"Since the implementation of the 'No Free Plastic Bag' policy in 2009, about RM8mil to RM9mil has been collected levies.
"This shows that consumers are still not dissuaded from paying the 20 sen per bag," he told reporters on Saturday (March 30) after launching the "Inspiring Future Leaders" conference by the Penang Women Chamber of Commerce (PWCC).
Earlier, state Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the state government was considering increasing the plastic bag charge after it was found that things were not going as expected when it came to reducing plastic bag usage.
Nevertheless, Chow said since the 20 sen levy was implementated, 50% of consumers now brought their own shopping bags, which was evidence of some environmental awareness.
"What we've done is just a small push towards ensuring the environment is not polluted.
"Apart from this, there is also the 'No Single-Use Plastic' movement, which must be escalated. There are many things that can and must be done," he said.
However, asked if the state government would ban the use of plastic totally, Chow said it would be discussed with stakeholders.
"The time will come when we have to do things progressively. Over time, we will see a new lifestyle," he said. – Bernama