State takes cleanliness issue seriously, says exco man

PENANG is giving priority to cleanliness issue in the state, says state executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo.

Referring to an English daily news report that quoted the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) over clogged drains in several areas on the island and Seberang Perai, he said they viewed the matter seriously.

“CAP has pointed out that the drains in certain areas needed some upgrading works, in particular widening or deepening them,” said Jagdeep, who is the state Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman.

“This is an open government. We always welcome the observations by all parties. Whatever we do here is for the benefit of the public and we take into account the report that was made by CAP.

“I have requested both the MBPP (Penang Island City Council) and MPSP (Seberang Perai City Council) – to look into the various areas that they have identified allegedly that need upgrading works for the drainage system.”

Jagdeep and Yew looking at some of the MBPP workers clearing rubbish from a clogged drain off Pesara Claimant in George Town.

In Penang island, the areas identified by CAP are Jalan Telekom, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Jalan Utama, Jalan Macalister, Jalan Gurdwara, Jalan Jones and most of the drains in Air Itam and Bayan Baru.

In Seberang Perai, the drains affected are in Jalan Kampung Gajah, Jalan Bagan Luar and Jalan Kampung Bengali.

But Jagdeep said there was no denying that the council workers could be seen on the ground every day doing their job.

He said MBPP has a total of 1,300 workers, including 500 from private firms, for the cleaning job.

He said MBPP collected a total of 10,076 tonnes of waste for an average of 27.6 tonnes per day in 2019 compared to 14,437 tonnes for an average of 39.5 tonnes per day in 2018.

In 2019, a total of 442 compounds were issued to dirty eateries during the enforcement operations while in the last four months, 18 dirty outlets were ordered closed.

Jagdeep also revealed that MBPP had spent over RM7.5 million in 2018 and over RM11 million in 2019 to upgrade the drainage system for five projects and six projects respectively.

For this year, he said MBPP would spend an estimated RM6.7 million for upgrading the drainage system for seven projects.

He said he was happy with both councils for the increase in the level of cleanliness at public facilities, like the markets, hawker centres and toilets.

Some of the MBPP workers clearing dirt and other rubbish from a drain in Jalan Pintal Tali as Jagdeep (centre) and Theng (left) look on.

“The state government prioritises cleanliness. Our Penang 2030 vision is for the state to be cleaner, greener, safer and healthier to inspire the nation.

“MBPP and MPSP have inspected public facilities like public markets, hawker centres and toilets. I have personally been following this matter closely and I am happy to say that both councils have done a good job because we can see an improvement in the level of cleanliness in these areas.

“They are all graded and star rated. This is not a one-time job but is a continuous process to ensure the cleanliness is further improved or maintained.”

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang, who was also present, said although MBPP has won accolades, they do not rest on their laurels.

“Our focus is on cleanliness. We thus appreciate feedback. But we appeal to restaurant owners to cooperate with us.

“Out of the 442 compounds issued during our enforcement operations in 2019, 93% of them were for offences like discharging grease, oil or rubbish into the drains.

“We won’t compromise. Since Nov 19, we have closed down 18 eateries for not installing grease trap. We appeal to them to help take care of the environment,” Yew said.

Jagdeep and Yew later saw for themselves how the MBPP workers clean up the drains along Jalan Pintal Tali and Pesara Claimant.

Also with them were MBPP Urban Services Department director Mubarak Junus, MBPP Engineering Department deputy director Cheah Chin Kooi and MBPP councillor Nicholas Theng.


Story by K.H. Ong

Pix by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi