Malacca to punish litterbugs with fines, 'walk of shame' in public

Malacca is drawing up various proposals to stamp out litterbugs.
Malacca is drawing up various proposals to stamp out litterbugs. PHOTO: AFP

MALACCA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A hall of shame with names and faces on display, hefty fines and making offenders walk around with placards that say "Don't Mess With Malacca" - these are the proposals being drawn up to stamp out litterbugs in the historic city.

The 10-minute walk with the placards is one of the moves by the Malacca Historic City Council (MBMB) under a by-law expected to be passed next month, aimed at cleaning up the Unesco World Heritage site.

Besides being publicly shamed, repeat offenders will also face a maximum RM2,000 (S$660) fine on the spot.

Organisers of night markets, street parties and concerts will face a maximum fine of RM4,000 under the proposal.

First time offenders must sign an "oath of pledge" not to mess up the city at the MBMB magistrate's court at Jalan Tun Sri Lanang.

They must sign an official document, provide details of their MyKad or passports (in the case of foreigners) and pledge not to litter again.

"Their data will be keyed-in. They will face hefty fines if they repeat the offence," said MBMB special officer Mohd Yusof Abu Hassan.

Repeat offenders could also be dragged to court and fined for breaching the "oath of pledge".

They could face separate charges for affecting public health, safety and convenience to the public.

"The current compound of a maximum RM500 has not helped stamp out litterbugs," he said.

"We have the blessings from mayor Datuk Zainal Husin to table the by-law in the next meeting," he told The Star yesterday.

He said the blueprint on new compound rates had been completed.

Mohd Yusof said the by-law, once enforced, would cover tourist hotspots, hospitals, places of worship and schools within MBMB's jurisdiction. The areas included the popular Jonker Walk, Uptown night market and Pahlawan walk.

He said the council had lost its patience over the piles of rubbish thrown there.

"We will no longer be lenient with litterbugs," he said.

However, Mohd Yusof said the proposed "walk of shame" with placards was still under consideration as it could prove controversial.

"We need to consult the state legal adviser first," he said, adding that they intended to place mugshots and details of offenders in public places.

Mohd Yusof said that after Christmas Eve, popular places such as Pahlawan Walk, The Stadthuys and Jonker Walk saw piles of rubbish.

He said the plan to maintain cleanliness in Malacca to be on par with Singapore came about following Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron's directive for MBMB to fully enforce its "Don't Mess with Malacca" campaign which kicked off last year.

Yesterday, Idris told The Star that more CCTVs would be installed at tourist hotspots while more undercover enforcement officers would be on hand to nab culprits.

"Despite warnings and the slogan, there are some who are still stubborn. We need to teach them a lesson," he said.

Idris also warned that the four local councils in the state would not hesitate to shut down eateries that are deemed unhygienic.

Last Wednesday, the Chief Minister announced that a plan was underway to force restaurateurs to rent mobile toilets and pay for maintenance if their toilets were filthy.