LABUAN: Labuan’s brand new street art, especially its new murals, have recently become the targets of vandals.
Bernama reported that barely two week after ten local artists brought shine to the once dull walls of Labuan, at least one of their 13 majestic murals had now been spoiled by acts of vandalism.
Speaking at a press conference today, Labuan police chief Supt. Muhamad Farid Ahmad said that the city had spent an estimated RM80,000 on this Mural project in hopes that it will beautify the island in line with the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 campaign.
“However, before all the 13 murals were completed, one of them was vandalised. We do not want this vandalism syndrome getting out of hand with vandals running around spray-painting over the murals on our buildings,” he said.
Not only that, he said several old buildings and road signages had also been the target of vandals.
He said the public works department and the Labuan Corporation (Development and Engineering Department) had recently lodged police reports regarding several illegal graffiti appearing at Jalan Pohon Batu, Jalan Batu Arang, Jalan Bunga Tanjung, opposite Chep Seng Hardware and Pasaraya Utamajaya with losses amounting to RM6, 357.00.
Farid said the reports were being investigated under Section 427 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum jail sentence of five years.
Meanwhile, speaking to Bernama, University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) senior lecturer Dr Romzi Ationg said local authorities were fighting a losing battle against the culprits as the penalties provided for under existing by-laws were grossly inadequate, thus had failed to deter the offenders.
“The time has come for a vandalism Act to be introduced to allow heavier fines and compulsory community service,” he stressed.
He said although the state of vandalism in Labuan town was not very alarming, it is nevertheless serious and warrants more stringent laws to put a stop to this ever growing problem.