KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 62 Malaysian companies currently hold approved permits (AP) to import and process plastic waste.
The permits are issued by the National Solid Waste Management Department (NSWMD) within the housing and local government ministry.
In July last year, the ministry announced a three-month suspension for the issuance of permits following an incident of contamination in Kuala Langat, Selangor, believed to have been caused by a factory processing plastic waste illegally.
NSWMD deputy director (Facilities and Import Permit Unit) Wemi Kalsuna Katerun said all the 62 companies were being continuously monitored to ensure they abide by stipulated regulations.
Stern action, including revocation of licences, will be taken if any of those companies is found to have violated the regulations pertaining to the permits.
“If any of the companies is found to have brought in contaminated plastic waste or goods, the NSWMD will blacklist them. If they commit a subsequent offence, they will face suspension and possible revocation of their permits,” he told Bernama.
Wemi cited the example of a Johor-based company that had its permit suspended because the company had made a false declaration in import documentation to evade checks by the authorities.
Following recent incidents of environmental contamination and the related public outcry, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin declared a war on plastic waste.
Last month, the minister ordered 60 containers laden with contaminated plastic waste, stranded at Port Klang, to be sent back to the respective countries of origin in stages.
Apart from this, the media also reported that 265 containers of plastic waste have been stranded at the North Butterworth Container Terminal since January.
Wemi said the NSWMD was working closely with the energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry to streamline enforcement procedures at ports nationwide in reference to the import of plastic waste, adding that this effort would also be brought to the attention of the Cabinet soon.
According to the NSWMD website, Malaysian importers of waste need to ensure invoices submitted bear the signature and stamp of the relevant exporters they work with, while permit applicants need to furnish photos of the waste that is intended for import into the country.
Permits will only be issued to importers with appropriate premises where waste processing or recycling can be undertaken.
AP holders will be deemed to have committed an offence if the plastic waste is found to be stored and processed at other premises not approved by the department.