The Consumer’s Association of Penang (CAP) urges the Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) to immediately clean up and beautify all wet markets in Penang which are in deplorable conditions of filth and poor hygiene.
In a survey of wet markets carried out by CAP in Chowrasta, Central, Bayan Baru, Ayer Itam, Pulau Tikus, Jelutong, Riffle Range, Taman Tun Sardon, Padang Tembak and the old Jetty in Butterworth, it was found that cleanliness and hygiene was indeed a pertinent issue to be dealt with.
Meat and vegetable produce that were for sale were laid out on these dirty floors and in one of these markets, a coconut retailer even placed unprocessed coconuts atop a drain which was blocked with waste.
These slippery floors could and have resulted in people falling and hurting themselves. According to some retailers, the floors are particularly hazardous to elderly consumers.
The Local Government Act of 1976 clearly states that all markets are to be perpetually in a state of cleanliness and hygiene and that all manner of waste matter is to be disposed of properly and permanently. Unfortunately, the Act is violated routinely.
CAP recommends that the following guidelines be introduced to and implemented by all wet market traders:
1. Stalls that sell poultry and other products must be cleaned on a daily basis.
2. Food produce must be stored hygienically and all food containers must be cleaned daily.
3. Water containers must also be cleaned and refilled daily.
4. A comprehensive waste disposal system for all manner of waste material must be introduced to eliminate waste disposal in drains.
5. Health Inspectors must send samples of all fresh produce including meat for laboratory tests to determine the presence of harmful bacteria.
6. Inspections for hygiene, cleanliness and proper waste disposal must be made by Health Officials on a regular basis.
Food safety practices like these must be set by all concerned parties in Penang as a precedent for the rest of the country to follow. We urge the Penang State Government to strictly implement and enforce the Local Government Act to ensure the health of the rakyat.
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) must also take strict action against local authorities which fail to implement and enforce the Act.