HELPING HAND:The Selayang Municipal Council turns to the man on the street to help clear the municipality of illegal advertisements
THE Selayang Municipal Council is looking to the public to end its longstanding war on illegal advertisements in the municipality.
The council is hoping that those who come across illegal boards, banners, buntings, posters, stickers and spray-on advertisements will tear them down as well as report those who put them up.
Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) public relations director Mohamad Zin Masoad said the council spent hundreds of thousands of ringgit yearly to paint and touch up surfaces that have been defaced by these advertisements.
A Streets check in a number of areas in Selayang recently, found trees, signboards, bus stops, generators, traffic light and street light poles covered with such advertisements.
The council's licensing head Affendei Samingan added it was launching a long-term public drive against illegal advertisements to rid Selayang of the menace as internal campaigns, involving council staff or contractors were ineffective.
"At the most, we manage to keep the culprits away for a few weeks," he said after opening the first of a series of anti-illegal advertisement drives at the municipality recently.
About 150 people attended a gotong-royong.
Also present was council president Datuk Zainal Abidin A'ala, who removed the advertisements. About 50 residents also helped to take down banners, buntings, posters and boards.
Affendei said the council's enforcement wing was also clipped due to certain limitations.
"Most of our investigations go cold or hit a dead end because the advertisers we look to compound and have their phone numbers blacklisted cannot be traced.
"Theirs is a sophisticated system, they use another person's line as go betweens, register with fake information or use temporary or tapped lines," said Affendei adding that the council was opening itself to lawsuits by calling on the Multimedia and Communications Commissions (MCM) to cut the lines.
The council has not hauled anyone to court over the past one-and-a-half years.
There were also 52 compounds worth RM52,000 issued in first six months of the year and 513 compounds worth RM513,000 issued in 2011.
Under the council's advertising bylaws each compound carries a fine of RM1,000 or a jail term of a year, or both.
On the anti-stick spray that was initiated by the Kajang Municipal Council last year, he said the council did not find it feasible as it was expensive.
"The same works for the sticker advertisement removal spray. That's why we need people such as housewives and businessmen to always be on the alert and tear down sticker advertisements immediately so that it doesn't get stuck to the paint," he said, adding that if the option was feasible it would have been adopted across Selangor.
Officers within the Subang Jaya Municipal Council also confirmed that the aerosol like substance was too expensive to buy.
Topping the list of popular advertisements in Selayang include money-lending (Ah Long) notices, sex toy buntings, illegal massage spray-on as well as notices on lorries for hire, tuition and property to sell or rent.
He said while the council did not clampdown on folk who put up advertisements on their gates and in their house compounds they can, however, charge them under the same act.
"This is usually applicable for tuition and property ads. However, we do take action on those who stick or use boards to advertise these in public space," he said.
He added that the council was also looking into Malacca's system of removing advertisements where rubbish contractors were tasked to remove the advertisements in the neighbourhoods they service.