KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government will work to educate the public and raise awareness before introducing a nationwide ban on plastic bags within the span of a year, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin in an interview published by online news portal MalaysiaKini on Monday (May 28).
Zuraida said she believes awareness of why the government wants to implement the ban is still low, despite similar bans enforced in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor, Melaka and Johor.
"Malaysians still have the attitude of wanting everything so easy, they want to have plastic bags so they can bring their items home,” she said, adding that the public should give the government some time to hold public engagements and educational programmes.
In February, Pakatan Harapan politician Dr Mahathir Mohamad criticised Barisan Nasional’s plan to “reintroduce plastic bags in Selangor, calling it “bad for the future” due to the amount of waste it will generate.
In a Facebook video, the current Prime Minister added that his party encourages the use of reusable bags.
Drawing comparisons between both parties, Dr Mahathir said: "Barisan Nasional is for the past, dirtying the environment with plastic, but Pakatan Harapan is for the future, where bags like this (reusable bags) will be reused again and again."
The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association said in April that every Malaysian throws away 300 plastic bags a year on average.