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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Oct 17: Local Government Assistant Minister Datu Dr Penguang Manggil says the Sarawak government has yet to be informed of the mechanism of how to impose the pollution charge on plastic bags.
He said presently, local councils in Sarawak do not have any idea of how the federal government’s new policy will be enforced.
“First of all, we need to know how the policy is going to be implemented and what is the mechanism to enforce it before we can comment whether we can adopt it.”
Penguang was responding to the announcement by the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin today that the federal government requires all states to begin imposing a pollution charge on plastic bags used within three years starting from next year.
The aim, according to the minister, was to cut down on single-use plastic waste where the local councils will be responsible for the collection of the charge.
Penguang, who is also Marudi assemblyman said he was not certain if the new policy is applicable to Sarawak and Sabah as the two entities have their own legislature and subsidiary by-laws.
“Most likely when the minister spoke, she was referring to only the Peninsular Malaysian states and not including Sarawak and Sabah.”
For Sarawak, he said the attempt to raise awareness about lessening the use of environmentally harmful objects such as plastic bags and styrofoam has been an on-going effort which started a few years back.
“We started to reduce the use of plastic bags a few years back where city and municipal councils called for ‘No Plastic Day’. The effort is still on-going.
“And following that, we also have ‘No Styrofoam Day’, which was launched not only in cities and municipal councils but also in district councils such as Marudi District Council.
“In terms of environment awareness and steps to protect the environment, Sarawak is ahead of Peninsular Malaysia,” said Penguang.
Citing another recent announcement by Housing and Local Government Minister Zuiradah Kamaruddin on building incinerators in every state, Penguang said the announcement was also not relevant to Sarawak because Sarawak built its first incinerator in 2004 and another one in 2014. — DayakDaily