The 20 sen charge imposed by the Selangor government through its "no plastic bag" ruling will not burden the people.
This is according to Adrian Yeo, a policy officer in the office of Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, who said this was because the people have a choice by using their own bags when purchasing goods at outlets.
Instead, Yeo claimed, the 20 sen a litre hike on the RON 95 petrol price early this month has been a burden on consumers, for they have been affected by the increment.
"What is burdening is the increase in our petrol prices. We don't have a choice but to charge it to our daily account.
"As for the plastic bag for goods when we shop, we have a choice on whether we should take it and pay for it. We can invest in (reusable) bags that can used for two to three years," Yeo told Malaysiakini.
"I don't think (20 sen for a) plastic bag is a burden," he said.
The state government introduced "no plastic bag policy" in all major shopping outlets for Saturdays in 2010 and expanded this practice to seven days a week beginning this year.
On Jan 5, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was wrongly blamed for this burdening policy of the Selangor government.
Malaysian Muslim Consumers' Association (PPIM) activist leader Nadzim Johan said the people were caught off guard and burdened by the policy.
'Polluters must pay'
"We are very proud and happy to hear Noh Omar, various NGOs and consumer groups for being supportive of the campaign," responded Yeo.
"While certain parties said 20 sen was very expensive, we have other NGOs saying the price should be 50 sen, RM1 or RM2 per plastic bag," he said.
"So, we followed and continued the rate of 20 sen since 2010. This is not punishment but more of a deterrent and prevention. This is the policy polluters must pay for, but you can choose to be a friend of the environment."
The no plastic bag policy is in line with a survey done in 2011, in which more than 70 percent of the respondents wanted the 'no plastice bag' policy to be implemented for more than one day, Yeo said.
There was mixed reaction in the first week after the plastic bag ban, but the feedback has been positive in the second week, he said.
"The people didn't seem surprised by it and they were aware of it. They were happy to bring their own bags.
"There are some who spin it the other way. Certain articles are also negative, but we just take it as it is," Yeo added.-Mkini