August 21, 2008

That RM15 Charge Spoils the Party

By R.T.

WHEN I was growing up in Petaling Jaya, fishing was a healthy activity pursued by youngsters armed with a cigarette tin and sewing thread procured from mother's sewing kit. I was one of those indulging in this activity at the Taman Jaya lake at Section 10, Petaling Jaya.

Fishing then was free and we could happily spend a whole day there. I can still recall my grandfather teaching me how to throw the line and wait for a bite. There were also fathers teaching their children the finer points of patience and the whole family spent a day together there.

Having grown up and having a family of my own, I naturally wanted my children to take up the activity. To my surprise, I was told that no fishing is allowed at any of the Petaling Jaya lakes without a licence from the Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya.

This RM15 licence allows the bearer to fish on weekends only and even then at specified lakes that come under the jurisdiction of MBPJ. It is sad to see such a healthy activity coming to an end because of a bureaucratic need to base everything on ringgit and sen.

The MBPJ should focus on making the activity free of charge. In my opinion, making the activity free would:

* Encourage youths to participate in a more healthy lifestyle rather than hang out at malls and engage in immoral activities;

* Promote family bonding and togetherness when the whole family is fishing at a park or lakeside.

* Encourage outdoor activity, which is totally absent from the lifestyles of many youths today. Most of their time is spent in front of the television or computer, or in malls.

* Encourage cleanliness of water resources. Polluted waters have no fish. The anglers would have to practise cleanliness to protect their fishing grounds.

* Help reduce the alien fish population that is having a stranglehold on our local fish population. This is evident at the annual MBPJ fishing competition where most of the fish hauled in are alien species.

I sincerely hope that the newly appointed MBPJ councillors would take immediate action on this matter.


Petaling Jaya

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