Waste management set to be privatised

The Solid Waste Management and Public Cleaning Act or Act 672 is expected to take effect in April although some states have yet to accept the privatisation of the service as set out by the federal government.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said the enforcement would pave the way for the appointed concessionaires to take over the service from the local authorities.

He said the privatisation was decided 15 years ago but was still at its interim phase, resulting in numerous problems.

“Upon the enforcement of the Act, we will be able to set the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and carry out monitoring by the Waste Management and Public Cleaning Corporation for a better delivery of the service,” he told reporters after commissioning Environment Idaman (E-Idaman) Sdn Bhd’s new compactors.

He said that so far, three states had yet to agree to the privatisation. He did not identify the states.

Chor said the three concessionaires — Alam Flora Sdn Bhd for the central region, E-Idaman (northern region) and Southern Waste Management Sdn Bhd (southern region) — had not been able to carry out the service effectively due to numerous problems, including late payment by the local authorities.

“Once the Act takes effect, these companies will be able to deal with the problem and the local authorities can concentrate on carrying out their core businesses like taking care of town beautification, collection of quit rents and fees.

“The local authorities will then be able to improve on their performance,” he said.

He added that many local authorities were unable to pay the concessionaires, resulting in the federal government having to bear high costs for solid waste management.

“It’s a losing business. The local authorities currently owe the government RM384 million. There are 103 local authorities nationwide but only a small number are able to provide good solid waste management service,” he said.

He said under the Act 672, the public would also be required to separate their waste for the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) programme.

“We will give them two years before fully implementing the 3R programme,” he said, adding that the ministry was also in the process of building an incinerator each in Langkawi, Pangkor, Tioman, Labuan and Cameron Highlands.

“This is a planning for the future. We no longer want to rely on landfills.”

-Bernama