GEORGE TOWN: In an effort to raise awareness on keeping rivers clean, a Penang MCA leader jumped into a garbage-filled drain linking to Sungai Pinang, which is said to be among the dirtiest rivers in the country.
Cheah Chin Woon, who is Penang MCA social movement bureau head, then used a net to scoop up bottles, plastic bags and a variety of other waste for disposal.
He stressed that it was not a political stunt but to highlight an environmental issue.
"I am raising awareness for the public to ensure that everybody will help keep our rivers clean.
"It is not a show but by jumping in the river to increase awareness, I hope to educate and influence the people not to throw rubbish indiscriminately," he said before making the splash on Thursday (April 14).
Cheah also vented his frustration at the local authority and alleged that the drain had not been cleaned regularly.
"Based on 24 days of observation, with photographic evidence, we can see that the problem was not solved until the last minute.
"Politicians are always blaming the people for littering
"But in fact, there wasn't so much garbage initially, it's just that it was not cleaned regularly and this led to the garbage accumulating.
"Just this morning, there were 12 cleaners working along the road, showing that they are 'working hard before the exam'," he said.
Cheah added that he had decided to call the dirty river "Koi River" after his friends from Kuala Lumpur mistook several objects floating in the river as Koi (carp).
"It was not Koi but garbage floating on the surface. I felt embarrassed and ashamed.
"Hence, we will go down and do the cleaning, since our request to the state to carry out the cleaning was ignored until the last minute," said Cheah.
Cheah spent about 30mins cleaning the river while other MCA members assisted in collecting the garbage. Also present was MCA vice-president and Penang MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng.