Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lost, Warring Just Posters (No, Not Money Lenders)

Few days ago, an overturned lorry [(here's the video) - Thanks to Vijaya Kumar Rahman, Citizen Journalist of Malaysiakini], carrying money lender sticker had caught fire, while negotiating to take the corner from Pasir Gudang Highway to Johor Jaya in JB.
Fire from the lorry spread to the nearby bushes but was curbed by firemen from Johor Jaya fire station from spreading.
The driver managed to escape through broken windscreen with minor injuries.

******

Empty spaces in public places rarely remain bare for long.
They are ideal spots for free advertisements promoting all kinds of services.
Almost 95% of all the illegal posters and stickers placed in public places in the city of Johor Bahru are of moneylenders, loan sharks or “Ah Long posters”.
The balance 5% offered herbal remedies to improve sex lives, household services, premises for rental and transport repairs.

The free advertisements for these money lenders can be found all over JB. 
It seem to dominate every nook and cranny of the city. 
They have been menacing JB as long as I can remember, and is a great public nuisance.
Not enough has been done to put a stop to the illegal activities.

The stickers are commonly seen at bus stops, lamp posts, signboards, telephone booths, telecom boxes at the roadsides,

Ah Long advertisements pasted on a power unit in Johor Bahru.
Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s substations, trafffic lights, on trees, walls, and any stickable places we can least imagine.
These public amenities are free advertisement boards.
They are defaced with colourful posters and stickers, aiming to lure money desperados and those who are in hard times, to open an account with these 'big hearted big brothers". 

It seems as though Johor Bahru is the land of ABC,

not "air batu campur" as above, but


"Ah Long" (Chinese money lender),  
"Buku Tiga Lima" (three fives booklet), also known as "buku hutang" (credit book), and  
"Chetty" (Indian money lender).

The worst of all is when road signage is not spared.
Road signs are the most favourite places by illegal moneylenders, posing great problems.
Some posters lead to confusion among motorists, posing danger to them.
It's a common problem all over Johor Bahru, creating problem for others looking for directions.

******

For years, We used to rely NOT the road signs which usually are mounted with money-lending stickers, but TNB lamp posts whenever in unfamiliar places.
If not, then it is just guessing game finding Our ways in unfamiliar areas, if residents were out of sight, or not well versed with their own neighbourhood.

Once again, thanks to Vijaya Kumar Rahman for his effort here, sharing with viewers, what the stickers had done to residents in Taman Molek.
The housing estate's chariman, Haji Idris Md Yusof, on finding the proper authorities to handle this case said,

“When I had a dialogue session with the police, they said I have to refer to the (Johor Bahru) Municipal Council (MPJB) as it is not their jurisdiction. When I referred to MPJB, they said they don’t have the power to arrest,” he said.
The above, Taman Molek UMNO branch chief said, the ‘Ah Longs’ use teenagers to paste the stickers for them, who are not aware of the traffic rules.
They stick them at any stickable posts they see.

“Once there was a Bengali woman who questioned a man who was sticking the fliers, but he threatened that she won’t be alive if she makes any noise about it,” he added, on the sticking assignments carried out by large, intimidating-looking men.
The public is urged to call the council’s toll-free number 1300-88-1406 to complain about such posters.

But new posters would be up, soon after the old ones removed. 

No free advertising: An anti-vandalism unit member scrapping off some illegal moneylending posters on TNB substation in Johor Bahru. Photos: The Star

Vandalism is rampant in Johor Bahru.
They removed drain covers that can cause fatal accidents as they have no regard for safety and the law.
Then there are road signs sprayed by vandals.

The anti-vandalism unit with ten men was formed at the start of last year, roaming the city in a van, equipped with scrappers, pails and ladders to remove illegal notices and stickers put up by Ah Longs.

But according to Haji Idris, MPJB appointed contractor to remove the stickers, are furthering the mess.
They just tore them apart, did not remove the stickers completely.
It thus makes greater mess in the surrounding areas.
The removed stickers left many ugly sights, an eyesore, of jobs halfway done.
There is no proper provision in law as of yet to nip these activities.

****** 

Just a couple of weeks ago, while cleaning the porch area, the sight of an elderly person surprised Me.
I saw posters were being put up, alas, at again, the road sign opposite My house.
I wonder if those distributing money lenders' calling cards and fliers, putting up banners or sticking leaflets have any guilty conscious.
What they did had created great environment and social problems.

In Muar, two youths were handed to the district police station.
They were alleged to be involved with illegal money lenders.
They were nabbed while putting up posters advertising Ah Long's business.
They were each paid RM1,000 a month in addition to daily food and petrol allowance.

If indeed, youngsters are used, their parents should be informed and warned of the consequences.
There will be at least some restrain in the irresponsible parties.
It thus show the authorities are serious about tackling the issue.
The action will erase the lackadaisical attitude assumed by the public.

******

Now, the “cash available” offers are at our doorsteps.
Name cards, besides fliers, are not placed in mail boxes.
They were thrown into the gate.
The practice is daily occurance at My house.
It becomes litters strewn on verandah before long.

******

Last year, We received many SMSes mostly in Chinese, offering cash up to RM500,000. 
How did they get Our numbers? 
Data base being sold?
In 2005, the government announced a registration requirement to enable authorities to track users, to prevent criminal activities conducted over the cellular telephone networks.
Then the Home Ministry announced 6,000 cellphone numbers belonging to Ah Longs were disconnected nationwide in 2009.
Out of 484 reports lodged in 2009 under the Moneylenders Act 1951, Johor topped the list with 118 cases.

Authorities concerned, can demand telecommunication companies cooperation in monitoring these phone-borne crimes.
If efforts are not kicked in, seeing and hearing no evil, before long, advertising and calling borrowers on tv is the next option.

******

It is high time for the Iskandar Regional Development Authority play its part to ensure the relevant agencies rid JB of growth of these advertisements which are becoming a nuisance.
It can pressure the local councils to do more, organising groups and squads removing, tearing down, cleaning the affected spots and leaving no mess around.
Surveillance teams can be deployed to nab the culprits red- handed.

While the Iskandar project is changing the landscape of Johor Baru at full speed, surely the illegal publicity paraphernalia advertising various financial services, scattered around the city, dominating every nook and cranny, will have a lasting impression in investors' minds.
How if these investors are to see them at bus stops, lamp posts, signboards, telephone booths, telecom boxes at the roadsides, TNB substations, on trees, walls, and any stickable places we can least imagine?

******

Majlis Bandaran Johor Bahru ( Johor Baru City Council) was given a four-star rating by the Housing and Local Government Ministry.
It keeps the city clean, safe and conducive for everybody?

One wonders how it got this grading when even a trivial war, fighting illegal posters, seems to be an enormous task, cannot be won?
It is just about getting rid of these posters and stickers, tidying up the place, and leaving no unsightly mess.
With concerted effort, it can be done, until the unsightly mess disappear forever.

******

Under the Minor Offences Act, anyone affixing advertisements, bills, notices, paper or banners on any property without authority is liable to a jail term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding RM1,000, or both.
A paltry sum, with unlike enforcement that the "advertisers" are brazen enough to put up their advertisements with their mobile phone numbers emblazoned boldly across for all to see.
The enforcement authorities have not seen any?

Then, it is emboldening loan sharks.
These people are having field days putting up leaflets and posters all around.

Now, with unlike enforcement, they are putting up huge banners and buntings, nicely erected in the middle of many major roads.
Turning blind eye can worsened societal plague.



Worst of all, these posters are strategically placed at traffic light junctions which I've seen at Jalan Tebrau and Pasir Gudang.

******

A very good read that stirs mix reactions, frustration and smile: Scratch And Find Your Way There.

8 comments:

Bluearmoire said...

Salam Ummie
- It is high time for the Iskandar Regional Dev. Authority plays it's part to ensure the relevant .........

Spore has Aethos (macam abg polis gak). Quite reliable & impressive. They're everywhere in Spore. Kat immigression pun ada, betul tak? Walaupun good money (approx. min S$2k) budak2 sini tak terangkat pasal too much OT. IRDA try to connectlah & ambil expertise (afterall Iskandar is yours aper). Job opptny in both countries for the Johoreans. My nephew (Aethos) poket penuh tapi takda masa nak belanja.

Ummie said...

Point noted.
Yeah,
A number of these Aetos officer, surprisingly are M'sians,
with good education background.
Given their experience,
with sensible terms & conditions,
sure they can deliver.
With due recognition,
they'll work their hearts out.

If they can travel on motorbikes from JB to Changi, Jurong... sacrificing sleep to gain the exchange rate,
again with sensible terms & conditions,
own hometown is most welcome.

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Ummie, we too have these problems but not a a scale like where you are.
The authorities, the local councillors do take action when we call them.....

And the fine can be big ones too.
I guess maybe someone should bring this up with the local MP....
Someone, somebody should be able to put the fear of God to these people....its ugly!

Come out with a Rgt 25,000 fine, 3 months jail sentence should get JB clean and tidy again.
Best regards, Lee.

Ummie said...

Fine, jail... you name it,
nothing can chicken them out.
These big brothers are themselves supreme... god.

Local MPs?
Nothing much they can do.
Authorities have their individual set of rules.

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