GEORGE TOWN, July 1 ― All supermarkets and retail shops in Penang have been told to register for the state government's “No Plastic Bags” programme or they will face enforcement action by the local council.
State environment, caring society and welfare committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said some newly-opened supermarkets have been flouting the law by collecting 20 sen per plastic bag from customers despite failing to register their businesses with the council.
He said the collections were also not channeled to the state’s Agenda Ekonomi Saksama (AES) programme.
“Today is the seventh anniversary since Penang announced the implementation of the ‘No Plastic Bags’ programme but we have found new establishments that did not register for the AES programme and yet are collecting 20 sen for each plastic bag so we are advising them to register with the state government now,” he told reporters at a press conference today.
Under the state's “No Plastic Bags” programme, supermarkets and retail shops are not allowed to give out plastic bags for free to customers but must collect a 20 sen levy for each bag the customer uses.
The sum collected is then channeled to the state's AES fund, which is a programme to eradicate poverty in the state.
Phee said new establishments are all required to register with the state government to get license and certification to collect the 20 sen for the bags.
“Every sen collected for AES is accounted for and all supermarkets and retail shops must submit the sum they collected into this fund,” he said.
Small individual retailers such as sundry shops and hawkers can be exempted from this ruling, as they do not need to collect 20 sen for each plastic bag, but they too have to apply to the state government for exemption.
“Even establishments that give out plastic bags for free are flouting the ruling,” he said.
Phee said the local council will start enforcement action on outlets that flout the state's no plastic bags ruling.
He said some of these supermarkets have claimed that they were only adhering to the federal's no plastic bag programme, which only goes on once a week, every Saturday.
“They must remember, they are in Penang, they must follow the state's policies and in Penang it is no plastic bag every day,” he said.