GEORGE TOWN, June 20 — A blanket ban on all plastic recycling in the country does not benefit the country nor the local economy, the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and Malaysia Plastics Recyclers Association (MPRA) said today.

The two groups asserted that a total ban would penalise legit companies, their employees and their families, as well as the domestic industry which helps to reduce waste and create by-products for other sectors.

“Legal operators support Malaysia’s manufacturing and export sectors in industries such as electrical and electronics, automotive and others so a total ban would bring Malaysia’s participation in the global circular economy to a halt,” MPMA and MPRA said in a joint statement.

The groups are responding to a call by the Penang Consumers Association (CAP) for all approved permits issued to plastic waste recycling factories to be cancelled.

MPMA and MPRA pointed out that recycling played an important role in protecting the environment by managing the disposal of certain types of waste.

“As an economic activity, recycling is crucial to creating new value that benefits society and contributes to sustainability,” the groups said.

They stressed that they do not import municipal plastic waste from other countries and reiterated their stand that Malaysia has no place for other countries’ rubbish.

They said the main issue at hand is the illegal smuggling of municipal plastic waste from overseas by illegal operators.

“The focus should be on the smugglers and illegal operators, not on the law-abiding legal operators,” they said.

“We hope the continuing debate will focus on the more immediate problem of how to properly dispose of existing ‘sampah plastik’ and prevent future smuggling,” they added.

They said this would be more productive than harming legitimate businesses that have not broken the law.

They also voiced their support to the government in its efforts to crack down on the smugglers and illegal operators to protect the environment.

“We will continue to work with relevant government authorities to properly discuss a robust, effective regulatory framework for this industry and Malaysia’s role in the circular economy where the redeployment and reuse of resources is a key organising principle,” they said.

Yesterday, CAP’s acting president Mohideen Abdul Kader called on the Department of Solid Waste Management to cancel permits issued to companies that imported plastic waste.

He said the government has failed to address the issue of dumping of imported plastic waste and environmental pollution that was attributed to the plastic waste recycling industry.