Thursday, August 10, 2006

Three major steps to resolve Pest Control Agreement fiasco

Subang Jaya Municipal Council MPSJ has recently clarified their stand on the pest control ruing fiasco, claiming that the several pest control firms that collected money from business operators, but did not rid their premises of the pests and police are monitoring and investigating such firms. The council also added that there were firms that closed down after operating for only a few months.

This is a weak reason as the council cannot justify its reason to hire a consortium which is neither accredited by the Pesticide Board (Under the Department of Agriculture) nor recognized by Pest Control Association of Malaysia, to run the required pest control exercise for business operators under its jurisdiction.

Whether it is a genuine intention from the Council to “protect the rights of the business operators” or to maintain the cleanliness of areas under the Council’s jurisdiction, the core question is whether the assigned pest-control companies are selected through a professional, transparent and fair procedure.

The Sun dated 10th August 2006 has carried a headline repot on the issue. It is reported that:
Replying to queries from the Sun, an official of the Pesticides Board confirmed that the 10 companies do not have pest control operator licences as required under the Pesticides Act 1974 - and have not applied for it.”

And yet, all business premises under the jurisdiction of these two councils are forced to appoint these companies under the council's two panels - at a standard cost of RM600 - to fumigate their premises before they can renew their business licenses annually.

It is noted that some of these companies have only a RM2 paid-up capital and were set up recently.

To justify its selection, the MPSJ had said in a statement last Friday (Aug 4, 2006) that the companies in their panel have pesticide applicator licences.

To this, the board official said having a pesticides applicator licence does not mean one can run a pesticide or fumigation business.

To do that, he said, one needs a pesticide operator licence. However, one can get this; one needs sales and storage licence for one's premises, and a premise licence from the local authority.

A pesticide aplicator can only be licensed once he has passed the Pesticides Board annual examination.

MPSJ president Datuk Mohd Arif Ab. Rahman, when told of this revelation, expressed surprise and said he would check on it.

It is prevalent to us that there are serious confusions and contradictions between Lee Hwa Beng’s comment and the Council’s statement:

1. If the Council were to assign a designated pest control companies, why companies registered and recognized by the PCAM and Pesticide Board not selected?

2. Lee Hwa Beng claimed that the Council only appoint companies accredited by Pesticide Board, but later in a statement issued by the Council, out of the seven companies mentioned, there are only five accredited by the Board (please refer to a newspaper report published in The Sun dated 8th August 2006, page 11). The rest must ‘get one in one to six-month time’.

a. If there are companies not yet accredited by the Board, why does MPSJ appoint them? Could MPSJ not wait until the other two companies accredited before they are appointed by MPSJ?

b. If there is any accident occurs when these companies are conducting pest control exercises, causing casualties, will the Councils bear any responsibility?

c. What is more serious, why is it that none of these seven companies appointed by the council are registered and accredited with the Pesticide Board after checking as claimed by the Board? Who is not telling the truth?

3. Why did the Councils appoint these companies in a rush without carrying out an detailed background searching? A lot of these companies are newl established and their directors are very young, what sorts of track records they have until MPSJ can appoint them?

4. Lee Haw Beng clained that during th Council’s Full Board Meeting in July, he has suggested to the Council not to appoint companies which are not recognized b the Pesticide Board.

However, Lee Hwa Beng was reported as saying in that companies not accredited by the pesticide board under the Agriculture Ministry would not be recognized by the Subang Jaya Municipality Council (MPSJ) to provide business premises with certificates of pest control treatments. So, apparently, has Lee’s suggestion finally adopted by the council? Why are there contractions between his statement as Councilor and the Council’s statement?

Will the Council’s President and Lee Hwa Beng clarify this during their “Meet The People” session tomorrow in MPSJ?

MPSJ and MPSepang shall adopt three major steps to resolve the fiasco – suspend the order, hold a dialog and re-elect the companies transparently and openly.

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