The Selangor state government will not compel retailers to shift to paperbags in its 'No Plastic Bag' campaign, saying it is not a viable option. (File pix)

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor state government will not compel retailers to shift to paperbags in its 'No Plastic Bag' campaign, saying it is not a viable option.

State executive councillor Elizabeth Wong said the programme was aimed at encouraging consumers to use bags that can be re-used many times.

"If we change to paperbags, it is actually not viable. It means that we will cut down forest to make paperbags, and this is not a good idea.

"The trajectory of our programme is to minimise single-use bags, and apaperbag is for single use.

"The recycle rate in Malaysia is also at an unsatisfactory level, and until we reach a good rate maybe we can consider it (shifting to paperbags)," she told reporters at Setia City Convention Centre, here today.

Wong was met after making an official announcement of the state's Selangor Wellness and Living Expo 2017, which will be held at the same venue for three days starting Feb 24.

She was answering reporters' questions over the 20 sen charge imposed on customers by retailers for each single-use plastic bag issued.

Asked about her claim that over 70 per cent of Selangor people supported the ban on free issuance of plastic bags, Wong said her office (state Green Technology, Environment, Tourism and Consumer Affairs committee) did not carry out the survey.

Instead, she said, it was derived from tracking of media content and responses.

"From what I know, the one responsible for issuing the survey result is the MBI (Menteri Besar Incorporated).

"I was informed that it received positive responses from 80 per cent of the 80,000 respondents," she said.

On the health expo, Elizabeth said they expect to receive 6,000 visitors during the three-day event which will feature over 75 exhibitors including healthcare providers, medical centre and hospitals, and healthcare equipment suppliers.

She said the Selangor government aims to excel in healthcare tourism, and is determined to overtake Penang and Malacca, which now tops the list of healthcare tourism states in Malaysia.

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