JOHOR BARU: A RM500 fine awaits anyone caught red-handed littering in public, says Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.
The Johor Mentri Besar said this is part of the state government’s initiative to beef up its enforcement approach to environmental cleanliness under the Johor Bersih initiative.
“The state government and all 16 local councils in the state have discussed this matter, and it is high time that we take serious action against those who continue to disregard the environment.
“We can issue a maximum fine of RM500 for those who are caught littering under the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 (Act 133),” he said after a visit to Sungai Tebrau, near Pengkalan Nelayan Taman Tampoi Utama here yesterday.
The Machap assemblyman added that although the state government introduced the Johor Bersih initiative last year, the level of awareness among members of the public was still low.
“When we run programmes to clean our streets and rivers, we must be met with a proactive effort from the public to ensure that trash is no longer thrown there.
“So now, besides conducting gotong-royong, our enforcement will also be moving along,” he said, adding that each state executive councillor has been given a task and area to monitor.
Onn Hafiz said what the state government was doing right now is just an added value to the work that has been done by the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) and SWM Environment Sdn Bhd.
“We have clean-up programmes for the state’s rural areas, rivers, and public beaches every week, which go above and beyond what we are supposed to do.
“This is supposed to be in the jurisdiction of the concessionaires, but I do not want to play the blame game, it is not productive,” he said, adding that the state government would also need close cooperation from the private sector, government-linked companies and NGOs.
Johor housing and local government committee chairman Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor said enforcement is expected to start within the next two weeks after the paperwork on Act 133 is completed.
“We have called all 16 local council lawmakers on this to standardise the action taken under Act 133, as prior to this the fine was only between RM30 and RM50.
“This was the initial phase of our enforcement approach before we introduced our artificial intelligence and digital surveillance initiatives,” he said.
Mohd Jafni added that the Irrigation and Drainage Department (DID) spends RM20,000 every month to collect more than 80 tonnes of trash from Sungai Skudai.
He said although there is river waste management activity there, some people continued to throw trash into the river, including mattresses and refrigerators.