Rep queries SMC’s reasons behind halting door-to-door collection service

Chang (centre) speaking at the press conference with Sibu MP Oscar Ling and Pelawan assemblyman David Wong.

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By Wendy John

SIBU, Jan 9: Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) should not stop the service of door-to-door bulky waste collection in conjunction with the forthcoming Chinese New year celebration as households are paying the yearly assessment rates.

Speaking at a press conference today, Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang said that under the Local Authorities (Rating) Regulations 1997, the council is empowered to make regulations on the rates for each service provided by them.

“And under this list of services provided, would be the service called ‘scavenging’. And scavenging refers to the service of collecting refuse by the council or their agents,” she said.

Chang said the term “refuse” should include all kinds of waste, big and small, as it was not specifically stated that it should only be confined to small everyday household waste.

“And we are paying 4 per cent of the rateable value of our house, for this scavenging service,” she added.

Chang said while she agreed with SMC chairman Clarence Ting that the people of Sibu need to do more and change their waste disposal habits, she did not agree with stopping the door-to-door collection of bulky waste, especially in such a hasty manner.

She cited SMC’s financial reports for the years ending in 2017 and 2018, which showed that it received RM5,543,061 and RM5,750,665 respectively for collecting refuse.

The sum paid by SMC to their contractors for this service were RM5,569,609 (2017), and RM5,401,753 (2018).

“These are substantial sums and it is therefore unacceptable that with the rates which we have paid to SMC, it has now decided to stop the service of door-to-door bulky waste collection, which is only once a year and thereby causing last minute inconvenience to a lot of people,” she said.

She added that it was also not right to tell the people that if they want this service to come to their doorstep, they had to go to UTC to pay an extra RM40.

“It is even more not acceptable when there has been no reduction in the rates which we have to pay for the scavenging service of 4 per cent. SMC is therefore refusing to provide the full service for which they are charging the people. And in addition, they are charging those who require the service an extra RM40.00 on top of the 4 per cent charged and paid,” she said.

Chang said Ting had said in his Facebook page that in 2018, the cost of cleaning was 900 trips at RM53,000.00 and in 2019, the cost was 2,409 trips at the cost of RM130,000.00.

“If I were him, I would look into the reason of why was there 2½ times more trips in just one year, from 2018 to 2019. Surely the household population in Sibu could not have jumped 2½ times in the one year? Why was so many more trips required? Could it be that the lorries were not fully filled up before they made the trip up to Kemunyang?” she queried.

So in this austerity drive to more wisely manage council’s funds, SMC should have considered on how to reduce the 2,409 trips while at the same time, providing the door-to-door collection service and and ensuring that not more than the necessary trips are being made to Kemunyang.

Chang reiterated that DAP was not opposing this decision for the sake of opposing.

“We speak for the people, in ensuring that our local council serves the people correctly and properly and give back to the people of Sibu what is rightly due to them,” she said. —DayakDaily