GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government today revealed that illegal waste dumping in the state has gone up drastically since early this year.
State Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said there had been 12 illegal dumping cases in Penang so far this year compared with only eight cases between 2014 and 2018.
He also decried the puny fines meted out to a landowner who turned his oil palm land into an illegal dumping ground in Bukit Mertajam.
The said landowner was given a RM2,000 fine after he pleaded guilty to a charge after pleading guilty to a charge under the Collection, Dumping and Disposal of Waste Bylaw (MPSP) 1994 at the Magistrate’s Court on June 20.
Today, the same landowner was charged under a different municipal bylaw, concerning mosquito breeding, with the court ordering a RM1,000 fine to be paid and the land to be cleared of the rubbish.
Magistrate Shamsol Azwa Martadza meted out the fine on H’ng Boon Chai, 65, who pleaded guilty to the charge.
The court ordered him to pay a RM1,000 fine and to clear 20ha of land at Mukim 16, Bukit Teh, in 14 days, with evidence of the clearing to be presented to the Seberang Perai Municipal Council.
H’ng was charged with having allowed his land to be used as a dumping site, making it a potential area for mosquito breeding as well as causing environmental pollution.
He was charged under Section 82 (1) of the Local Government Act with committing the offence at 11.45am last March 20.
Siti Rahmah Md Yusoff, from MPSP, prosecuted, while H’ng was represented by lawyer Franchis Goh.
“We think this is insufficient punishment. There are so many other laws with heavier penalties,” Jagdeep said at a press conference today.
He said the Local Government Act 1976, Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 and the Environment Quality Act 1974 had penalties from RM50,000 to RM500,000 for offences committed.
Jagdeep said the state government has summoned top legal officers in the state, including those from the police and prosecutor’s office, to discuss how to proffer heavier charges against offenders.