Perak says more time needed for blanket ban on plastic bags like Penang

Perak housing, local government, public transport, non-islamic affairs and new villages committee chairman Paul Yong Choo Kiong at a press conference in Tronoh June 13, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak housing, local government, public transport, non-islamic affairs and new villages committee chairman Paul Yong Choo Kiong at a press conference in Tronoh June 13, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

TRONOH, June 13 — State executive councillor Paul Yong Choo Kiong said today that Perak needs more time before following Penang footsteps of zero-plastic bag usage.

Yong said that the state needs more time as there are 15 local governments in Perak while Penang only has two.

“It’s not easy to implement a policy just like that. Penang started the ‘No Plastic Bag’ programme earlier than us, but we are still new,” he told a press conference at his service centre here.

“They can afford to do it as the state is smaller and they can easily manage a plastic bag ban compared to us, where we are the second biggest state in Peninsular Malaysia.”

Yong was commenting on the Penang government’s latest move in asking businesses in the state to stop dispensing plastic bags from next month onwards.

This means customers who forget to bring a bag will not be able to even pay the nominal 20 sen charge at the checkout in Penang.

At the moment, Perak’s “No Plastic Bag” campaign is only effective every Saturday with customers still being able to get a plastic bag if they pay 20 sen for every one required.

Yong said that the state government cannot ban plastic bags completely all of a sudden as it will cause an inconvenience to the people.

“We have to do it gradually. We also need to get reactions and feedback from the public on this matter.

“Maybe if we want to implement such a policy, we have to inform the public one or two years earlier,” he added.

Yong also said the state government is working closely with the Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin on how to reduce Perak’s reliance on plastic bags.

It was reported that Perak Health, Consumer Affairs, National Integration and Human Resources Committee chairman A. Sivanesan had suggested that the state’s weekly “No Plastic Bag” campaign in shops be extended to three days in a week.

“Whatever suggestions or plans taken by the state exco need to be presented in the state exco meeting for approval.

“In this case, Sivanesan can bring this suggestion to the meeting and a decision can be made there,” said Yong.

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