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HASTY calls by non-governmental organisations for a blanket ban on so-called “plastics waste” are unnecessary, ill-considered, and harm law-abiding manufacturers and businesses in Malaysia.


In referring to “plastics waste”, NGOs are lumping permitted imports together with smuggled ‘sampah plastik’. This hurts the reputation of legitimate Malaysian businesses, instead of addressing the issue of smuggling.


We are concerned that law-abiding businesses are being accused of breaking the law, and that inaccurate statements could destroy the livelihoods of law-abiding Malaysians and the families and loved ones that they support.


The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and the Malaysia Plastic Recyclers Association (MPRA) would like to point out that ‘sampah plastik’ from overseas has been banned meaning any such wastes in Malaysia are smuggled and illegally imported. Blanket bans do not and cannot address the issue of smuggling and do hurt legitimate businesses.


We worry that there could be a repeat of the suspected arson attack in Kedah that recently destroyed a licensed and legal factory, and put the lives of workers, local residents, and firemen at risk.


Recycling done by legal operators are supporting both local and foreign brands in sectors such as electrical and electronics, automotive and other manufacturing sectors as well as in the construction industry.  A total ban would bring Malaysia’s participation in the global circular economy to a halt.


Recycling plays a vital role in protecting the environment and properly managing and disposing of waste. As an economic activity, recycling is in fact crucial to creating new value that benefits society and contributes to sustainability. 


We fully support the Government’s efforts to escalate its enforcement actions against smugglers, who make false declarations to Customs in order to illegally import ‘sampah plastik’. We also support the clamp-down on illegal recycling operations, with about 150 of these shut down by the Government to date.


We reiterate our stand that Malaysia has no place for other countries’ rubbish, and that we should not become the developed world’s dumping ground. We continue to support and are ready to assist the Government in their efforts to crack down on these unscrupulous and illegal operators and to protect the environment.


We also call for a proper forum to properly discuss a robust, effective regulatory framework for this industry and Malaysia’s role in the circular economy where the redeployment and reuse of resources is a key organising principle.



29 MAY 2019

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