KOTA KINABALU, April 13 — Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew has proposed that Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) impose a hefty maximum compound fine of RM500 on any litterbug caught red-handed in any public place, if we want to achieve the desired outcome.

Liew said she would fully support DBKK’s full enforcement of the Anti-Litter By-Laws 1984 (Amendment 2005), which empowers DBKK to issue compound fines (of up to RM500) and court actions against litterbugs.

“Why not seriously consider making a compound fine of RM500 mandatory on the spot to put potential offenders at bay?

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“As it stands now, a littering offender may be asked to pay a compound fine of not exceeding RM500 under Section 9 of the Anti-Litter By-Laws.

“My understanding is that the sum is usually very much below RM500, and could be as little as RM30. This will definitely not act as a deterrent.

“Do execute the power of arrest and drag the litterbugs to court to be convicted of littering and subjected to community work (depending on the type of littering).

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“Let us learn from Singapore’s penalties for littering offences under its Environmental Public Health Act (EPHA). To my knowledge, the fine for the first offence upon conviction has since been doubled from US$1000 to US$2000. For the second conviction, the fine is up to US$4000,” Liew said in a statement on Saturday.

The Kota Kinabalu City Hall criticised the public’s apathy after it was forced to collect a whopping 200 kilogrammes of rubbish irresponsibly strewn across public areas of the city during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday.  — Picture via Facebook/Kota Kinabalu City Hall
The Kota Kinabalu City Hall criticised the public’s apathy after it was forced to collect a whopping 200 kilogrammes of rubbish irresponsibly strewn across public areas of the city during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday. — Picture via Facebook/Kota Kinabalu City Hall

The minister was commenting on Kota Kinabalu City Hall’s (DBKK’s) criticism of public apathy after it was forced to collect a whopping 200 kilogrammes of rubbish irresponsibly strewn across public areas of the city during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday.

She lauded DBKK’s immediate action to clean up the mess while calling on the authorities to place more rubbish bins in public areas frequented by residents and visitors.

Liew’s Api-Api People’s Service Centre will do its bit to keep the city clean in complementing DBKK’s anti-littering enforcement efforts.

“In view of public disinterest, I have instructed the Centre to initiate a cleanliness campaign soon to promote awareness of environmental public health, and to educate people on the importance of living in a clean environment,” she said.

Liew stressed that schools can also play an effective role by inculcating in their students a sense of responsibility towards maintaining public cleanliness, apart from keeping their school environment clean. — The Borneo Post