by Humayun Kabir
IPOH : The five Pakatan Rakyat-led state governments in Perak, Penang, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan are likely to take a united stand against the federal government’s move to implement the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 through three concessionaire companies nationwide by year-end.
They intend to sue the federal government if it goes ahead and implement the Act.
State education, local government, housing and public transport committee chairman Nga Kor Ming said today the federal government’s move would impose an additional financial burden on the people because it would privatise most of the services now carried out by the local councils.
‘I have discussed this matter with the state governments of Penang and Selangor and they have agreed to take a united stand,” he said.
“I shall be contacting the two other state governments of Kedah and Kelantan and I believe they will also agree to take a united stand.
“The federal government has been hasty in pushing through the act without proper feedback from the public and without consulting the state governments as they should do under the Local Government Act, which states that the federal government cannot impose any local government act in any state without the consent of the respective state governments.”
Nga said the privatisation of the council services to the three concessionaire companies would mean the assessment rates would go up “which will cause financial hardship to the public during this downturn in the economy”.
“There is a price tag for every service undertaken by the concessionaire company like, for example, the removal of carcasses from public places such as those of cows, which will cost RM250 each, cats or dogs, which will cost RM100 each, and chickens, which will cost RM40 each.”
At present, he said, the local councils removed such carcasses without charge.
“The concessionaire companies will bill the local councils for the cost of the services undertaken by them instead of billing the public directly to avoid public complaints. Nevertheless, the local councils will pass on the cost to the public by increasing the assessment rates,” he said.
“At present, members of the public caught littering in public places are slapped with fines of up to RM250 by the councils, which can be reduced on appeal.
“However, when the new act comes into effect, the concessionaire company will have extensive power to impose fines, whereby the minimum is RM10,000 and the maximum RM100,000 or six months imprisonment, or both.
“Also, the state government and local government will be burdened by the act, whereby both must apply for licences from the housing minister or director-general before they can handle their duties.”
Calling on the federal government to review the act, Nga said the scope of the concessionnaire company is “wide and far-reaching as it covers almost all the basic and core activities of the local councils”.
“The local councils will only be left with the duties to do landscaping, approving plans and maintenance of roads,” he said.
“All the core responsibilities, such as cleaning of drainage, handling landfill, and maintenance of public toilets, public parks and public markets will all be surrendered to this company and the local council will be rendered powerless to act on public complaints.”
Nga spoke to reporters after Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin officiated at the first state motivation seminar for the 338 councillors in the 15 councils in Perak at the State Secretariat. — the Sun