MPSJ offers bounty on rats

Rodent paradise: The project aims to cut down on the rat numbers in the area.

THE Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) has declared war on rats by rewarding the public with 50sen for each rodent caught.

The Rats Eradication Programme, initiated by the council’s health department, is open to all residents, commercial operators and owners to curb the pest problem.

For the time being, the programme is limited to the commercial areas within JKP (Residents Committee) Zone 1 (SS12 to SS19), and it is to be held from June to August to gauge the effectiveness of the programme.

The public can catch the rats using traps, rat glue or rat poison, then call the council at 03-8026 3183, 03-8023 7595 or 019-275 8624 (after office hours) to collect the rodents to be terminated.

Selangor MCA Youth chief Dr Kow Cheong Wei, however, said the campaign was inappropriate as the residents would be exposed to the diseases spread by the rats.

“Who is responsible if the residents are infected while catching the rodents?” he asked.

Citing the Pests Eradication Campaign he initiated in February 2008, Kow said the council should let pest control companies handle the problem.

“The campaign yielded positive results – half the rat population was destroyed within four months after the campaign was launched. But the campaign was halted.

“The residents’ health is also at stake when they store the carcasses before the council drops by to collect them,” he said.

In response, MPSJ health director Dr Abdul Rahim Ahmad pointed out that precautions could be taken to avoid the rodent-borne diseases.

Citing typhus and plague, for example, he said these diseases were spread by infected fleas that live on rats.

“When the rats die after being trapped on the rat glue or after consuming the poison, the fleas will migrate once they sense the rats’ body temperature drop.

“Then, there is a possibility that the fleas might jump onto us,” he said.

Thus, using a mousetrap is a better option to keep the rodents alive.

When the department’s nuisance unit officers collect the rodents from 9am to 10am daily, they will kill the fleas by spraying insecticide on the rats.

“Similarly, the public can do so before killing the rats, and then wrap the carcasses with two layers of plastic bags before disposing them.

“The public should not disturb the traps after placing them in the rats’ trails. Don’t be disheartened if you cannot catch anything on the first day as it takes a few days for the rats to fall for the traps,” he said.

Dr Rahim added that the diseases, including leptospirosis and rat-bite fever, can be treated with antibiotics.

He also said a hefty sum of money was needed to engage pest control companies.

“For example, the deal offered to tackle the rat menace in two flats in SS13 and SS15 was RM50,000 for three months. After this period, rats from other areas might invade these places again if they are unmaintained and filthy,” he said.

He agreed with Kow that the hygiene campaign should be prioritised instead but it was difficult to change the people’s mindset.

“The public should not demand their rights while disregarding their responsibilities. Cleanliness is the responsibility of everybody and not only MPSJ.

“For our part, Alam Flora collects the rubbish in commercial areas daily but it’s the operators’ responsibilities to pack and tie the rubbish properly, and throw them in designated bins,” he said.

Rubbish which is not disposed of properly attracts stray dogs, cats and naturally, rats.

“Restaurant owners have to make sure that they wash their plates in sinks and not on top of the drain covers. This is to avoid the food remnants from going into the drains and contributing to the rise of rat population,” Dr Rahim said.

It is an offence under Section 69 of Local Government Act 1976 to deposit filth into public drains and offenders will be fined RM1,000.

“The restaurant operators should change their attitude. Otherwise, this will be a vicious cycle,” he said.