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LETTER | Rats! Our hygiene standards still deplorable

LETTER | As a passionate and loyal Malaysian, I love our food. Dining out with family and friends is something everyone looks forward to and with choices galore, we are indeed a happy and very contented bunch of people.

However, as paying customers, we deserve to have a clean and safe place to dine the scrumptious foods. Sadly, the reality is that hygiene standards in Malaysia are lacking.

I can’t pinpoint exactly why this is so, but I would venture to guess that this could be a case of Malaysians having a lackadaisical attitude when the problem is not in their home or next door to theirs.

This tidak apa attitude then gives rise to the poor maintenance mentality. We’ve heard it all too often - Malaysia is sadly a country that has First World infrastructure but Third World mentality when it comes to maintenance.

The internet will be abuzz if a certain food outlet is highlighted to have pest infestation.

Swept under the carpet

The inspection of these “branded” outlets points to a larger and more serious issue that we, as Malaysians, have conveniently swept under the carpet. This is not an isolated incident and highlights the need for greater attention to be given to hygiene standards in the country.

According to an Astro Awani report in 2013, statistics from Kuala Lumpur City Hall revealed that there were roughly 6.8 million rats that have made Kuala Lumpur their permanent home.

Another report by Aljazeera in the same year claimed that there were eight rats for every human in the world, which then put Malaysia’s rat population at more than 220 million in 2013.

I’d bet my last dollar that the rat population in Malaysia has not declined since then. There is no doubt that rat infestation can be a major health issue, as rats are known to carry various diseases that can be transmitted to humans. This is a serious concern that needs to be addressed urgently.

I would like to ask what the local municipalities are doing to stem the rat infestation problem. It is essential that they take immediate action to ensure the cleanliness of our cities.

Despite numerous complaints from the public, many open-air eateries, mamak stalls, and restaurants are still not keeping their end of the bargain despite being fined by local health authorities.

Local health authorities and local municipalities need to take urgent action to counter the increasingly serious rat infestation issue in Malaysia. They must be proactive in their approach and ensure that cleanliness is a top priority.

The adage that cleanliness is next to godliness must surely mean something to all of us. This issue of rat infestation and cleanliness is admittedly everyone's responsibility, but local municipalities need to lead by example.

I urge the relevant authorities to take action and address the hygiene standards in the country. It is vital that we work together to ensure that our cities are clean and safe for everyone. Please clean up our cities and punish those who violate the law, without fear or favour!

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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