GEORGE TOWN, May 10 – Most people agree that Penang is a world-renowned tourist destination known for its heritage but some have commented that cleanliness in some places is not up to mark. Komtar, where the state administration office is located and is a transit hub for public transport especially buses, is “like a slum”, said Tan Lee Ooi, KDU Mass Communication lecturer.
Tan who has been taking the public transport for about two years said the area is dirty and people throw rubbish everywhere, even when there are rubbish bins in the vicinity. Another regular bus user, Siti Khairiah Sihabudin, 33, said that in the morning the area is clean after the council workers clean it up.
She said it is sad to see the condition of the Komtar bus station in the evening. She said the people throw water bottles, cigarette buds and plastic wrappers everywhere, making the area dirty. A tourist from Japan, Makiko Takeoka, 33, said Penang is a beautiful city but, sadly, the people do not have the correct mindset.
She said that the people lack civic consciousness and are too dependent on the council to keep the city clean. Penang Island City Council Licensing and Public Health Standing Committee alternate chairman, Ong Ah Teong, said the council undertakes regular cleaning of all public places.
“So far, the council has never neglected its job in keeping the city clean based on our slogan ‘Cleaner, Greener and Healthier Penang’. But the people cannot depend on the council entirely to ensure the cleanliness of the state; they should help too,” he said when contacted.
A check at the Esplanade, Weld Quay and Lorong Kulit market found rubbish everywhere despite city council workers having cleaned the area. P. Arumugam, 46, a council cleaner, said people had the mentality that others will pick up their rubbish after they throw it. He said this is sad due to there are rubbish bins everywhere but people choose to simply throw rubbish wherever they want.
Alexander Brice, 32, from the United States said that the city would be nicer and cleaner if the people would educate themselves about the importance of cleanliness. He said cleanliness is very important and it is sad to see some people simply throw rubbish everywhere, be it in public places, sea side and fields. Meanwhile, he also added that the people need to be educated so that the mindset can be changed.