The Penang government will hold a discussion with stakeholders before it decides whether to increase the plastic bag levy to 50 sen, up from the current 20 sen per bag.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the proposal was discussed at a state exco meeting yesterday, but added that he has asked for stakeholders to acquire more input from the public before it is implemented.
"In Penang, we’ve found that although there is a plastic bag levy, there are still people who are willing to pay it.
"Since the implementation of the ‘No Free Plastic Bag’ policy in 2009, about RM8 million to RM9 million has been collected in plastic bag levy.”
“This large amount shows that consumers are still not dissuaded from paying 20 sen per bag," he told reporters today after launching the 'Inspiring Future Leaders' conference by the Penang Women Chamber of Commerce (PWCC).
Penang welfare, caring society and environment committee chairperson Phee Boon Poh said the state government was considering increasing the plastic bag charge after it was found that the reduction of plastic bag use was below expectations.
Nevertheless, Chow said that since the implementation of the 20 sen levy, 50 percent of consumers now bring their own shopping bags, which is evidence of some environmental awareness.
"What we’ve done is just a small push towards ensuring the environment is not polluted.
"Apart from this, there is also the 'No single-use plastic' movement which must be escalated. There are many things that can and must be done,” he said.
However, asked if the state government would ban the use of plastic totally, Chow said it would be discussed with stakeholders.
"We have to do things progressively. Over time, we will see a new lifestyle," he said.