Global Plastic Policy Reviews

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

When referring to any of the results of our analysis and/or its concept and design, please cite us accordingly:
Global Plastics Policy Centre (2022) March A., Salam, S., Evans, T., Hilton, J., Fletcher, S. (editors). Global Plastics Policy Review. Revolution Plastics Institute, University of Portsmouth.

Malaysia Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act No. 672 of 2007

View the policy document
Contribution to reducing plastic pollution:
Effectiveness of meeting own objectives:
Strength of evidence: Limited Available Evidence
Reviewed under framework: Yes

The Malaysian Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act No. 672 of 2007 aims to establish regulations and guidelines for the management of controlled solid waste and public cleansing. Its primary objective is to ensure adequate sanitation and address related matters as necessary. The Act grants executive authority to the Federal Government, giving the Director General the duty of implementation and requiring their approval for designated solid waste management facilities.

According to the Act, to provide solid waste or public cleansing management services, obtaining a licence is mandatory, and licence holders are required to comply with the specified conditions. Violations of the Act, such as improper handling of controlled solid waste or damage to facilities, can result in fines, imprisonment, or both.

The Act promotes the reduction, reuse, and recycling of controlled solid waste. Non-compliance with orders, including those related to take-back and deposit refund systems, is an offence. The Act establishes a Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Fund for financing related services. For offences without specific penalties, fines, imprisonment, or both can be imposed.

Despite the mandates, the implementation of the national policy on solid waste management exhibits signs of weakness and uncertainty, deviating from its intended objectives (Manaf et al., 2009).

The Act has faced major barriers preventing its successful implementation:

  1. In Malaysia, the responsibility for managing solid waste is not solely with the Federal government. Only six states and two federal territories have implemented Act 672, which means that waste management practices in the country are not working at their intended national scope. The expectation for a single policy that includes all states under Act 672 is being delayed because of insufficiency of the established, dedicated fund to support it (Lacovidou & Ng, 2020).
  2. Implementation of the solid waste management policy relies on a legal framework that has a clear, fair, and straightforward set of laws and rules. This legal framework should encompass effective inspection and enforcement procedures at the national, provincial, and local levels. Malaysia faces challenges due to weak institutional structures. In solid waste management, the institutional aspect involves how the authority, functions, and responsibilities are divided between the central and local government institutions (Abas and Wee, 2014).
  3. A lack of sufficient manpower to consistently monitor the implementation, and inadequately trained enforcement officers who may not fully comprehend the objectives of the national policy are some issues pertaining to the enforcement of the policy. Additionally, local authorities face financial constraints that hinder their ability to support enforcement efforts, even though they have made efforts to distribute the responsibility of managing solid waste to local entities (Abas and Wee, 2014).
  4. Waste separation from source, i.e. households, and eventually recycling of the recyclable wastes are challenged in Malaysia. This is due to physical barriers, for example, limited space, and inconvenience, along with the lack of sufficient knowledge, awareness, and misconception about the source separation and recycling practices of wastes. Therefore, information dissemination and knowledge generation should be prioritise to ensure that civil society individuals comprehend the connection between their actions and their long-term environmental consequences (Moh & Abd Manaf, 2017).
  5. In Malaysia, there is a tendency to prioritise public cleansing, i.e. hygiene and aesthetics management, rather than directly addressing the immediate issues of solid waste management such as recycling programs within a well-defined operational framework, an approach aiming to change the current attitudes and behaviours regarding waste separation at the source, ensuring long-term participation and sustained momentum, rather than limiting efforts to a short period of implementation (Ward et al., 2014).
  6. The absence of commitment among stakeholders including industry, businesses, and households, is also a significant factor contributing to the failure of effective implementation of this policy (Abas and Wee, 2014).
  7. There’s a loophole allowing illegal foreign waste to enter Malaysia. This happens when the waste is falsely declared as “recyclable” upon import. Once importers get the Approved Permits from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Malaysia becomes responsible for dealing with this waste. As a result, the so-called “recyclable” waste either stays uncollected at the port or ends up in landfills and poorly managed dumpsites (Lacovidou & Ng, 2020).

There are several important lessons to consider when thinking about implementing a nationwide or local solid waste management policy:

  • A robust legal framework is the primary facilitator for the successful implementation of a waste management policy. The effectiveness of a policy depends significantly on the presence of a well-defined, transparent, and unambiguous set of laws and regulations. This framework should encompass comprehensive inspection and enforcement procedures that operate at various levels, including the national, provincial, and local tiers of governance.
  • Effective policy implementation and successful recycling initiatives can be significantly enhanced through well-executed awareness-raising campaigns. Strategically designed and implemented awareness-raising campaigns have the potential to bridge the knowledge gap by educating and informing people about the importance and benefits of recycling. By increasing public knowledge and awareness, these campaigns can foster a positive attitude towards recycling, leading to improved participation and compliance with recycling initiatives.
  • The enforcement of a policy can be greatly strengthened by the presence of sufficient and well-trained manpower. It is very important to ensure an adequate number of trained personnel who possess the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively enforce the policy. By investing in the training and development of enforcement officers, and providing the necessary resources, the enforcement of solid waste management policies can be significantly improved, leading to better compliance and outcomes.
  • Involving stakeholders in a meaningful way throughout the policy planning and implementation process ensures their commitment and ownership, leading to increased compliance, resource allocation, and collective efforts towards achieving a policy’s objectives.
  • Adequate control and monitoring of exported goods from the countries of origin can significantly alleviate the trafficking of waste, safeguarding their waste management policies, and ensuring proper handling and disposal of waste materials.


  • 2011

Instrument type:

Voluntary or legally binding:


Implementation context:

Point in plastic cycle:

Policy Type:

Help us to refine our reports

We are confident in our research, however, not all evidence is made publicly available which may affect the outcome of the reviews. Let us know if you have research or evidence that can contribute to our analysis, or a policy you think would be valuable to review!

Get in touch

Our methods

Through an analytical framework, we've reviewed over 100 plastic policies. These reviews determine the effectiveness of policies in reducing plastic pollution and we offer recommendations in light of this evidence, to enhance future policy making. You can find out more about our methods on our methods page.



In light of our findings, we've created targeted guidance for Policy Makers, Citizens and Businesses.

Think we've missed something?

We are confident in our research, however, not all evidence is made publicly available which may affect the outcome of the reviews. Let us know if you have research or evidence that can contribute to our analysis, or a policy you think would be valuable to review!

Submit a policy or evidence