Understand the 'Don't mess with Melaka' campaign

13 Feb 2015 / 18:16 H.

    Malacca: When the soft approach fails to resolve a problem, maybe a harsher approach will do.
    This seems to be the case when speaking of the 'Don't Mess With Melaka' campaign which has been regarded by some as sounding like an incredibly harsh warning.
    So why the need for this stern warning? Why not give a gentle reminder? Why not have campaigns like 'Don't Litter' or 'Love Your Environment' to tackle littering?
    The answer is simple, years of gentle campaigning have not delivered the desired results and people are still littering, so a stronger message may be the solution for Malacca.
    It is hoped that the slogan 'Don't Mess With Melaka' will instill discipline in the community in order to preserve cleanliness in the state that prides itself for its booming tourism industry.

    The 'Don't Mess With Melaka' campaign was launched by the state government in 2014 after local authorities found that cleanliness levels had dropped.
    According to Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron this prompted the state to take drastic measures apart from the existing campaigns.
    "This is our new battle cry to show that we are serious in ensuring cleanliness.
    "So we introduced the slogan 'Don't Mess With Melaka' to instill a love for cleanliness among the people," he said.
    Idris explained that although the slogan prohibited littering, it could easily have other meanings which could unleash a positive impact on the state.
    "The slogan can lean towards cleanliness, but it can also warn against crime or malice against the people of Malacca," he added.
    Inculcating a culture of cleanliness will not happen overnight.
    The process will be long as the onus to change is on the individual, in spite of the support from government and private agencies.
    "One day, we hope the people of Malacca would rather stuff the rubbish in their pocket than litter in the open.
    "Let it be known that those people with pockets full of litter are from Malacca. That's the spirit we want so that one day Malacca will be a pleasant place to stay at.
    "If the people of Malacca cannot accept something new and good, it will be difficult to achieve our vision. That is why I say awareness must come from within," he said.

    The campaign has had its fair share of allegations of being a copycat of the 'Don't Mess With Texas' campaign held in Texas, United States of America.
    Regarding this, Idris said there is no issue of copycat or copyright.
    "In fact the Texan authorities welcome the campaign in Malacca," he said.
    The Don't Mess With Texas campaign launched in 1986 was also targeted at reducing litter on the state roads. It was said to have successfully reduced littering by up to 72% from 1986 to 1990.
    Idris, who was studying electrical engineering at the University of Texas in the late 1980s said he was impressed with the 'Don't Mess With Texas' which was ongoing at the time.

    In ensuring the campaign remains relevant with the state's situation the state government welcomed all feedback, noting the campaign and slogan had stirred various reactions from the public which includes incorrect grammar, word usage and more.
    "Honestly, I see these allegations and feedback as promoting the campaign. If it's too quiet it will not seem like there is a campaign," he said.
    Meanwhile, despite the comments and criticism, the 'Don't Mess With Melaka' campaign is slowly gaining acceptance as people are beginning to see the real picture.
    The campaign's logo, based on the Malacca flag's colours of red, blue, white and yellow is also synonymous with Malacca's image as a state that emphasizes on cleanliness among its people. – Bernama


    thesundaily_my Sentifi Top 10 talked about stocks