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Friday, 13 October 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

Massive gotong-royong against illegal ads in Brickfields

A MASSIVE gotong royong campaign will take place in Little India, Brickfields tomorrow to rid the township off its pesky banners, bunting and posters put up illegally by unscrupulous parties.

The event called “My Beautiful Neighbourhood Programme 2017” will start at 8am until noon and will be led by Former Federal Territories Minister and Lembah Pantai Umno chief Datuk Seri Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) Lembah Pantai branch manager Khairul Azmir Ahmad said the operation is a joint effort between the Housing Ministry, Federal Territories Ministry and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

“We are hoping to get the cooperation and participation from everyone in the area, including residents associations, non-governmental organisations including the business community,” Khairul Azmir said.

“Also since Deepavali is around the corner, we want to clean up Little India which looks messy with the unsightly banners and bunting,” he said.

Shopowners are not supposed to tie their banners to the pillars in Little India, Brickfields.
Shopowners are not supposed to tie their banners to the pillars in Little India, Brickfields.

Khairul said of late the number of illegal banners, bunting and posters are increasing day by day.

“The Little India pillars which were constructed as a beautification effort look so gaudy with the illegal banners.

“It looks tacky and serves no purpose at all. We will take everything down,” Khairul said, adding that it affected the beauty of the area.

Khairul said apart from illegal banners, the whole Brickfields area will undergo sprucing up including the drains and back lanes.

Brickfields Community Society (BCS) secretary Dr Christopher Nicholas welcomed the move to remove the unsightly banners in Brickfields.

“There is just no control over what is suitable. These days people are even putting up banners to wish political leaders ‘Happy Birthday’! ,” Dr Nicholas said.

“In fact nothing should go up without the approval of the local authority.

Some business operators have illegal advertisements outside their premises.
Some business operators have illegal advertisements outside their premises.

“Little India, Brickfields won third placing as one of the top 16 hottest neighbourhood to visit last year by CNN Travel, a travel website.

“This is something to be proud off. But if there was a category for the neighbourhood with the most number of illegal banners and bunting, Brickfields would probably win the first prize for that category as well,” Dr Nicholas said.

Resident Sarada Maniam, who lives in Jalan Ang Seng, said she supported any move by the local authority to remove the unsightly banners.

“Posters and banners wishing birthdays and festive greetings must be stopped. What is worse is that they fail to remove these banners after the event is over. It should never be allowed in the first place,” Sarada said.

Brickfields Rukun Tetangga chairman S.K.K. Naidu said he supported DBKL’s effort in cleaning up the area and would get his team to take part in the campaign.

Brickfields Business Council, president Datuk Bharat Maniam said it was unfair to blame the illegal banner menace on traders operating in Little India alone.

“Outsiders are the ones putting up the banners and we, as the business council, have no authority to stop people from putting them up, nor can we bring the banners down,” he said.

When told that there were traders operating in Little India who put up banners advertising their business, Bharat said: “It is against the law. We are against any members who put up banners on the pillars and around the area,” he added.

Brickfields is notorious for its illegal banners and bunting put up by traders operating in the area as well as outsiders.

Last year, DBKL introduced a new ruling on putting up posters and banners in the city.

Based on the ruling, DBKL will go after owners of premises where an event is to be held based on information stated in the illegal advertisements.

If an event is happening in PWTC or KLCC, and the event is being promoted through illegal ads around the area, DBKL will cancel the permit for the event.

City Hall said any commercial advertising via banners, bunting or posters without its approval can result in the suspension or termination of their business licence.

An illegal banner showing tattoo services in Little India.
An illegal banner showing tattoo services in Little India.

Only the Government is allowed to advertise its events.

Those wanting to advertise their products and services have to go through the proper channels such as advertising in newspapers and on LED signboards on streets.

In an earlier article, Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan told StarMetro that DBKL would only allow people to put up festive banners such as “Happy Deepavali” or “Merry Christmas”.

The public must apply for a permit to put up any banner.

However, the banners must be brought down after 14 days.

All banners apart from welcome and greeting banners have been banned by DBKL.

The organisers of events are only allowed to advertise via the LED billboards or signboards.

He added that City Hall would review the current maximum fine of RM2,000 to RM50,000 against those involved in putting up advertisements without the local authority’s approval.