Tag Archives: dirt vigilantes

New Dump Site below Kuala Kangsar Road Flyover


Residents living on Jalan Lang are concerned about the safety of the retaining walls of the flyover along Kuala Kangsar Road. They feel that the plants and trees growing in the gaps between the concrete slabs of the retaining wall could cause it to collapse.

When I visited the site to take photos, I noticed that plants and trees are growing on the wall and, more importantly, found that the ground below the flyover is being used as a dumping ground, especially for construction materials. There is a gap in the safety barrier along Jalan Anthony and unscrupulous people are using this space to enter and dump their wastes. The drains are also overgrown with grass and weeds preventing water from flowing freely. A number of drain pipes meant to carry rain water from the flyover to the ground are broken.

The land under the flyover and connecting roads is rather big. This ground can be converted into a park and the trees and flyover would provide shade. This would provide an ideal recreational facility for residents living in nearby housing estates.

Experts from MBI must visit the site and decide what remedial work has to be done to maintain the place.

A. Jeyaraj

Don’t Wait For Another Royal Visit To Start Cleaning Up


Jerry Francis

The clearing up of illegal rubbish dumps in the Rapat Setia area is only “the tip of an iceberg”. There is still a mountain of wastes from the thousands of such illegal rubbish dumps in the city.

Therefore, the Ipoh City Council needs to be very serious about clearing them. Otherwise, the council could be caught with its pants down, just as when the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, decided to personally inspect the affected area in Rapat Setia last September following a letter published by Ipoh Echo.

Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim must have felt rather speechless when Raja Nazrin saw for himself the seriousness of the situation resulting from the city council’s failure to respond to the residents’ complaints about the illegal dumping and open burnings in the area.

The city council must start to initiate the clean up throughout the city and at the same time be serious about enforcing regulations to act against the irresponsible people who would immediately start dumping the moment each illegal dump is cleared.

Some of those irresponsible residents must be dragged to court to show that the city council is serious about taking action. Post plainclothes enforcement officers at such illegal rubbish dumps to catch the culprits, as mere warnings do not seem to work. Those caught must be slapped with heavy fines, which can be channelled towards clean-up operations.

Failure by the city council to deal with the illegal rubbish dumps (estimated at over 15,000) would further aggravate the problem. Certainly the city council does not need to wait for another Royal visit to get serious about clearing the rubbish dumps scattered throughout the city.

The clean-up at Rapat Setia is a lesson. It needed 600 lorry loads to remove the heaps of 12,000 tonnes of wastes at Taman Harmony and Taman Koperasi, and another month (perhaps a thousand more lorry-loads) for the contractor to clear the balance of the two-third of the wastes accumulated there over the years.

Why must ratepayers’ money be used for the clean-up operations? Why not let those guilty of dumping rubbish illegally pay for the cleaning up? The biggest culprits are the operators of small lorries, who would, for a fee, cart away wastes and dump them at the nearest convenient place.

The city council also needs to ensure that every household is equipped with a rubbish bin. As it is, many households are hanging their domestic wastes in plastic bags on the fences or trees in front of their houses, like Christmas decorations. Such bundles are often rummaged by stray cattle or dogs, resulting in the wastes being scattered about. Residents have often been seen throwing plastic bags of domestic wastes into monsoon drains and along roads on their way to work each morning.

I had expected that the recent call by the federal government to all states and local governments to step up the move against Dengue would result in a major cleanliness campaign. But it appears the efforts in Ipoh have fizzled out. Heaps of rubbish and clogged drains are seen all over the city and there seems to be no attempt being taken to clear them.

Ipoh Echo, in its effort to serve the community, will continue with the “dirt vigilantes” campaign to spot dirty places and highlight them.

It hopes that together with the city council and the residents, the city can restore its lost image as one of the cleanest cities in the country, and only then can the city live up to its slogan of “Bersih, Hijau dan Membangun (Clean, Green and Progressive).”

A Royal “Walkabout”


Why have the authorities turned a blind eye?
Why have repeated complaints fallen on deaf ears?

Raja Nazrin Shah, with Datuk Bandar (left) and State Secretary, at an illegal dump site

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 will be a day to remember for Ipohites. It marks the day when the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, went on a “walkabout” to see the ugly side of the city in person. The heaps of uncollected garbage, indiscriminately disposed at illegal dump-sites, and not too well concealed, were simply revolting.
What really prompted an icon of the Perak Royal family to do the inevitable? I pin it down to inertia and indifference on the part of those entrusted with the cleanliness of the city, which was once dubbed the cleanest in the country. The days of the Seenivasagam brothers are long gone and in their place came the current crop of city elders whose interest in hygiene is questionable. It took the likes of Raja Nazrin to get things moving.

The episode leading to the “walkabout” started at Stadium Perak on the morning of Tuesday, August 31 when VIPs and the rakyat gathered for the annual Merdeka parade. The Raja Muda had enquired with the state police chief whether he was aware of a so-called “Zone of Pollution Fire and Noise” going by its acronym ZOPFAN. The Raja Muda was alluding to a letter written by an irate resident to Ipoh Echo. This set alarm bells ringing and soon the aide to the police chief was on his mobile calling me for details of the letter.

IE 87 Cover Story highlighting the problem
Dirt Vigilantes
I had never anticipated it to be that serious. After all, Ipoh Echo, as a matter of course, has been highlighting this glaring impropriety since the day of its existence. We have even encouraged our readers to become ‘dirt vigilantes’ (IE Issue 87) to oversee the menace.

We front-paged the issue with this broad headline, “Calling All Dirt Vigilantes!” and implored our readers to “protect our city from being swarmed by rubbish.” They were told to send photographs of dirty spots and information of their locations for publication. This is our duty as a community newspaper.

The plea however struck a chord with none other than the Raja Muda himself. The crown prince has taken it upon himself to rid the city of this blemish by visiting ZOPFAN in person. And the rest, like they say is history. Kudos to the Raja Muda for having done the unthinkable.

Headlines about this problem in past issues
The complainant’s fear is not unfounded. The 100-acre site is a former tin-mining area and is located below the Kek Lok Tong cave temple in Rapat Setia. It is covered with secondary vegetation, a disused mining pool and is hemmed in on all sides by housing estates. The land is privately owned and has been left idle for a long period of time. Illegal activities have taken root and are causing much inconvenience to those living nearby.

Of concern to the residents is open burning which is done at night to avoid detection. Chicken farming and vegetable gardening accentuate the chaotic make-over of this little badland. It does not bode well for those wishing to enjoy some peace of mind away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Why have the authorities turned a blind eye on an otherwise sensitive spot? Why have repeated complaints fallen on deaf ears? Why the disinterest shown by those in power? Could there be a more sinister reason behind the lack of action? The answer given by the Mayor is inconsequential but if it is the gospel truth then it opens a can of worms.

Political Pressure
According to Roshidi, the Council had in the past, contacted the owner and warned him to fence up his property. However, political pressure had negated his efforts at correcting the wrong-doings. So, it is not politically right to right the wrong. This is indeed a shame.

In dispensing justice the Council should act without fear or favour. It should be above board and remain impartial. The well-being of ratepayers is paramount, not that of the privileged few who have the political clout to dictate their own terms.

The Raja Muda has paved the way. So, MBI it is your duty to follow through.