PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is not desperate to accept waste from other countries for a pittance, says MCA spokesperson Mike Chong Yew Chuan (pic).
Chong was responding to a news report that quoted Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin’s confirmation that plastic waste importers must pay RM20 for every tonne of scrap brought into the country for recycling beginning June.
Previously, plastic scrap importers do not need to pay any levy, and this latest move is a mechanism to regulate the plastic recycling industry.
In stating MCA’s objection towards Zuraida’s announcement carried in The Star on Apr 4, Chong said Malaysia isn’t at such a “desperate level” where the government had to resort to raising revenue from processing imported waste.
“Furthermore, is our country prepared to receive more plastic waste?
“Do we have a good place and SOP to deal with the influx of plastic waste to ensure there will be no more occurrences of environmental pollution?
“We disagree with the proposal by Zuraida to develop the plastic waste recycling industry as we do not want Malaysia to be the landfill for trash from other countries, ” he told reporters during a press conference at Wisma MCA yesterday.
Chong said the fee collected from the import of plastic scrap was merely pittance, a sum considered insufficient to address pollution that is expected after processing such waste.
“As we are aware, a portion of plastic waste which cannot be treated or recycled will be discarded and burned, and the smoke from this burning pollutes the air while the rest will be landfilled, ” said Chong, who added that there should be no reason why Malaysia should accept imported rubbish as a form of profitable foreign investment.
Quoting a Greenpeace report, Chong said it was found that the volume of foreign plastic waste in Malaysia had increased from 40,007 tonnes to 65,316 tonnes currently.
At the same time, Chong welcomed Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man’s announcement on Feb 17 that 254 containers containing 5,512 tonnes of plastic waste had been repatriated to its country of origin.
“However, we are also of the view that the Environment and Water Ministry should increase efforts in returning these plastic wastes to their country of origin, ” Chong said.
He added that the latest statistics had shown that a total of 71 approved permits (APs) had been approved for the importation of plastic waste, compared to 62 APs during the previous Pakatan Harapan administration.
He urged Zuraida to reduce the issuance of new APs to reduce the imports of rubbish and its associated reprocessing industry.
“The Housing and Local Government Ministry should focus on resolving the problem of waste stockpiles, which still do not have a good solution in sight.
“Don’t allow a situation where the health and well-being of the rakyat are sacrificed for profit, ” he said.
Zuraida’s announcement last Friday stated that Malaysia would only allow imports of plastic scrap from developed countries such as Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea to enable the country to capitalise on the plastic reprocessing industry, which is a viable industry “if it is managed properly”.