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M'sia's fight against dengue hits a snag

Publication Date : 07-02-2014


The fight against dengue seems to have hit a snag due to the lukewarm, tidak apa (nevermind) or even hostile attitude of the Malaysian public towards enforcement officers.

Local councils in various states say their efforts to eliminate the killer mosquitoes are frustrated by the reluctance of people to allow their staff into some areas.

MBPJ, the Petaling Jaya City Council, said community participation was essential to curb dengue.

“We have only about 20 staff to fight dengue, including doing search and destroy work,” said a senior officer.

MBPJ spent almost 200,000 ringgit (US$60,186) a year hiring a private contractor to do fogging, as a service to the public.

According to MBPJ figures, 835 confirmed dengue cases were reported up to February 1 this year in Petaling Jaya. In 2012, the number of confirmed cases was 819. It went up to 2,738 last year.

As for construction sites, the officer said that most developers were cooperative when notices were issued and carried out immediate clean-ups.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the public should be cooperative and allow council officers to conduct checks at their premises.

In George Town, only 37 of the 190 invited contractors turned up for a briefing by the Penang government on how to prevent dengue and mosquito breeding.

State Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said the state invited the contractors for a briefing on January 27.

Regretting the poor response, he said: “We found some construction sites have turned into mosquito breeding sites and dengue-sensitive areas.”

Another letter will be sent to the contractors to highlight the seriousness of the dengue problem and urge them to cooperate.

State Health deputy director Dr Noorlia Yahaya said her department would continue with Ops Gempur Aedes and issue a stop-work order to any construction site found to be a mosquito breeding ground and issue compound notices to other premises doing the same.

In Johor Baru, many developers  and construction companies have been found to be lax in eradicating mosquito breeding grounds.

State executive councillor for health and environment Ayub Rahmat said the authorities had conducted spot checks at construction sites, schools and even places of worship among others to uncover potential breeding grounds.

Companies failing to comply with anti-dengue regulations would be served with a notice immediately.

“If during the next spot check we find that they still have mosquito breeding areas, they will be fined a maximum of 500 ringgit ($150.50),” he said, adding that after three strikes, companies will be taken to court.


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