THE next time you plan to drop old newspapers or clothes into a recycling bin near your home, it may be wise to first do a background check on the organisation collecting them.
Pertubuhan Amal Seri Sinar founder and president Datuk Eadon Ching said some organisations claimed to be non-governmental organisations (NGOs) but were actually companies running businesses.
“Most people will respond positively when approached or after finding out about a recycling campaign, without checking the organisation’s background.
“We have come across a few supposedly non-profit organisations that are actually commercial enterprises. We came to know about them as the organisations were registered as companies with Sdn Bhd or Bhd in their names.
“The easiest way to find out about an organisation is through the Registrar of Societies (ROS). If the organisations are not registered with ROS, then they are illegal,” he said during a recent visit to a recycling centre in Hulu Langat, Cheras.
He said the authorities should monitor activities and programmes of organisations which claimed to be non-profit-making to make sure that the public would not fall prey to unscrupulous individuals.
“This may seem petty to some, but if you think carefully, it is not only morally wrong to deceive people by having a charity front.
“Before this happens, we have to give a clear message to those taking advantage of people’s good intentions to do charity work. In Singapore, such immoral acts would incur a jail term and fine.”
He said he had informed the authorities about it, but it seemed that there was no specific law to stop individuals from collecting recyclable items from others.
“Charitable organisations like ours have to depend on public donations to maintain our daily operations including collecting items from the 272 recycle bins we placed at various places.
“The money we get from the recycling process would be used for our programmes and community events.
“However, some irresponsible people would simply exploit people’s generosity to generate income for themselves,” he said, adding that the most common items received were books, bottles, clothes and newspapers.
“We provide free pick-up services for bulky items such as old furniture and electrical appliances.
“We hire staff and technicians to make sure that the items are fixed before donating them or sending them to countries like Myanmar and Laos.”
He advised the public to at least check the organisations’ websites before contributing to them.
“If the website has not been updated for a long time, then you know that the organisation is not active.”
Ching, who is a businessman, got the idea to set up the society in 2003 after receiving encouragement from friends.
Apart from recycling and environmental campaigns including tree-planting, Pertubuhan Seri Sinar also goes to schools and residential areas to increase awareness on the importance to practice 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) in one’s daily life.
The association collects 60 tonnes of items daily, of which 60 per cent comprised clothes.