Making our cities, towns clean again

  • Letters
  • Thursday, 23 Oct 2014

ADVERTISEMENT stickers, banners and buntings from illegal moneylenders, tuition centres, illegal drug pushers and massage centres are blossoming on every visible wall and structure in the small and big cities all over the country.

The front door of my rented house on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur has also not been spared from the illegal stickers.

The sticker marks are difficult to remove and the paint always peels off after the cleaning.

There are always solutions to every problem in our society, even if the problem cannot be eliminated totally.

The local authorities must tackle the problem with a holistic approach to ensure our cities and towns do not become eyesores.

I would like to suggest a few short and long-term solutions to our local authorities to fight the problem.

Short-term solutions:

> Make reporting the phone numbers abused for illegal adver­-

tising to the Malaysian Commu-nications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) more easy, like through a mobile APP. MCMC should design such a reporting APP tool and distribute it free.

Everyone could snap photos of the stickers or banners, with GPS info tagged, with their smartphone and send them to MCMC immediately. The phone number reported to MCMC should be barred within 24 hours.

> Provide incentives for those reporting the abused phone number to MCMC, like the first person to make a report is rewarded RM50. MCMC may impose RM50 deposit for every new phone number registered which can be forfeited and paid as the incentive.

> More frequent neighbourhood gotong-royong clean-up campaigns should be organised by local authorities, political parties and non-government organisations to remove illegal stickers, buntings and banners promptly with the right tools and techniques like using high pressure water jets, battery-powered revolving brushes, proper chemical solutions, etc.

> Local authorities buy back illegal banners and buntings collected from the authorised companies and persons.

> Take the registers of abused phone numbers and the bosses behind them and charge them in the court. The newspapers should publish their names and photos to make them well-known criminals.

Long-term solutions:

> Amend the law to cane the hardcore offenders who put up stickers and banners. Our southern neighbour, Singapore, can keep their city free from “the psoriasis plague” due to its strict caning punishment for graffiti offences.

> Public facilities like bus stops, road signs, telephone switch boxes and walls of private and government buildings plastered with countless stickers MUST be repainted with non-stick paint.

Government grants or incentives should be considered to cover the extra cost for repainting.

Returning our cities and towns to a clean environment is not just to keep a good image for tourists and foreign visitors, it also reduces the Ah Long loan shark business by cutting off their communication chain from the laymen.

N K Khoo

Kuala Lumpur

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