GEORGE TOWN - The public, especially netizens here, have raised a hue and cry about signboards that compared litterbugs with monkeys.
The four signboards were put up by the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) from May 23.
Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy said a discussion will be held with the council.
"I believe that this campaign does not have any ill intention, but we will investigate," he said when contacted.
The trilingual signboards, measuring 3m x 3m (10ft x 10ft), carries the words Sesiapa Yang Membuang Sampah Di Merata-Rata Tempat Adalah Lebih Bodoh Daripada Beruk (Whoever Who Litters Everywhere, Is More Stupid Than a Macaque).
At the bottom of the signboard is a RM2,000 (S$729) penalty warning for those who litter.
The signboards were spotted at Taman Kepar, Taman Inderawasih, Taman Teluk Indah and Chai Leng Park.
MPSP councillor David Marshel said that the four signboards have been put up on a trial basis for now.
He said the message on the board was not intended as a provocation.
"Because the normal approach to tackle the littering issue was not working, we came out with this idea to tell the public that a human is less intelligent than a macaque, if they continue to litter everywhere.
"We plan to expand this campaign to other places if it works," he said, adding that MPSP had spent RM87mil on garbage disposal last year.
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) public health standing committee alternate chairman Ong Ah Teong said the words used on the signboard to carry an anti-littering message, was "a bit too creative".
"At the MBPP, we will definitely not use this kind of slogan. We won't follow," he said when contacted yesterday.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) officer Uma Ramaswamy said she personally felt that if the campaign is effective, then there is no reason to stop it.
She said that even outside the CAP office at Jalan Masjid Negeri, people still threw rubbish right in front of anti-littering signages.
The article about the signboards was put up on The Star Online's Facebook page.
The post had 230 likes up until 6.30pm yesterday.
It had also drawn about 100 comments.
While some viewed the move by the MPSP as being "effective", others felt that it was distasteful.
"We've tried putting polite notice for over 50 years and it never worked.
"Good job MPSP..." commented Mohd Zubir Khalid.
Francis Yip Hon Cheng said: "Coming from the advertising background ... this is not provocative. I have seen worse".
Some Facebookers said the signboards will have a reverse effect on the society.
"It's not going to work this way. Humans are born with rebellious genes, so when you put up these types of signs, it's a challenge," said Teoh Beng Siang.
Khairil Mustapha Huh who commented in Malay, said in a jest: "nasib baik golongan beruk tak pandai saman mpsp" (Good thing that the macaques cannot sue MPSP).