PETALING JAYA - From stricter enforcement to using stray cats, Malaysians took to the Internet to express their disgust and come up with ways to curb the rat population.
They have thrown in their suggestions on how to overcome the problem, with calls to the authorities to increase public awareness on how to eradicate the rodents.
The Health Ministry's disease control division reportedly recorded 3,665 leptospirosis cases last year, a whopping 85.5% increase from the 1,976 cases recorded in 2010, with 69 deaths. In 2011, there were 2,268 cases with 55 deaths.
Netizen with the tweet handle Jlova said: "Food stalls and eateries are their main breeding centres. Government should start registering and impose strict standards for their operations."
Benjamin Azad concurred: "There is no enforcement about health in Malaysia! Look at food stores! And all you do is campaigning against tobacco!"
For SuhailahSam, there should be more awareness of the negative impact and diseases brought by the rats in the streets.
"Malaysians should emphasise more regarding the knowledge on rat's urine disease a.k.a leptospirosis", she tweeted.
Karyn Khoo also suggested that "there should be adequate disposal facility and prompt trash collection in places like pasars malam, bazaars and street stalls. #RatAlert".
"Local councils ought to impose strict fines on stall owners who do not comply," she said.
Sundus Rasheed tweeted it was important for the local authorities to regularly clean up garbage disposal areas.
"Clear up the garbage dumps! Even in areas like Bukit Bintang got huge dumps in the alleys," she said.
Meanwhile, Napsiah Wan Salleh, posting on The Star official Facebook site, said: "One factor (which was) not mentioned is the aggressive removal of stray cats through euthanisation by Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur etc, may have given rise to boom in rats population.
"If there are cats, there won't be rats. Natural instinct of rats to avoid predators," she said.