Let’s end the littering cycle

KUALA LUMPUR: A lack of civic-mindedness and unethical behaviour form a huge part of complaints mediated by the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Strata Community Mediation Centre (PMKSWPKL).

Mediation centre head Mohd Azuan Ahmad said the biggest complaint after financial-related issues are always about “nuisance” cases such as indiscriminate littering, throwing rubbish from upper floors, along corridors and in the lifts, not separating recyclable waste, uncollected cat poo and vandalism.

“There is a lack of ethics in strata living and a lot of it could be due to poverty-related stress and lack of education,’’ he said.

PMKSWPKL is a strata committee dispute resolution centre of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

It is parked under its Commissioner of Buildings (COBKL), a unit under the Property Management and Valuation Department.

Mohd Azuan said they would try to mediate the dispute by getting the affected parties to talk to each other in a room.

Since the centre was launched in 2018, they have received more than 5,000 complaints.

He said they had successfully mediated about 1,200 cases so far.

“The numbers may not be high but at least we made efforts to educate residents on the etiquette of strata living,’’ he said.

Centre mediator Mohd Zainuddin Amran narrows it down to an attitude problem that stems from watching parents and peers repeating the littering cycle.

“It’s a vicious cycle that keeps repeating itself from generation to generation. It won’t stop unless this dirty habit to stop littering is taught in school from day one.

“We also need to ramp up enforcement,’’ he added.

Community activist Jeffrey Phang opined that what society needed was a strong and strict joint management bodies (JMB) and management committees (MC) to manage strata properties.

“We need people with the right knowledge to manage low-cost units like People’s Housing Projects (PPR).

“If the littering problem cannot be addressed, it’s simply because the JMB/MC are not equipped with the knowledge and skills,’’ he said.

Phang, who is MyPJ chairman, a coalition of Petaling Jaya residents associations, said one way to solve the pressing problem was to hire a competent management company to run the place.

Carol Tan, who manages low-cost flats in Taman Sentosa, Kuala Lumpur, however disagreed with Phang.

“You can have the best team and still fail.

“I have been managing private low-cost flats for many years now and I can safely say that this is an attitude problem.

“It comes from upbringing and the lack of understanding that littering is wrong.

“People do it anyway because they feel that they are paying maintenance fees and taxes,’’ she said.

Last week, a video of a man throwing a whiskey bottle from a high-rise condominium unit onto a busy road in the city went viral on social media.

The act caused a stir that eventually resulted in the man and six others being arrested and remanded for questioning.

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