KUALA LUMPUR: The people should emphasise the maintenance of cleanliness in the environment they live in by continuing with the practice of gotong-royong to prevent the spread of diseases like dengue, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said the people were generally aware that dengue could spread if steps were not taken to check it.

She said 85,270 dengue cases were reported between January and Aug 17 this year, an increase of 38,726 cases or 83.2% compared to the same period last year.

“Don’t wait until a problem strikes our family members before taking action. This is your residence, so look after its cleanliness and safety,” she said at an anti-dengue gotong-royong programme at Pangsapuri 610 near Ampang today.

Wan Azizah, who is Pandan Member of Parliament, said the increase in dengue cases in a particular area was normally caused by people’s lack of concern on cleanliness.

“How many of us are concerned about the maintenance of cleanliness of the environment? We don’t have to go far. Just look around our houses.

“Surely there would be something that has been overlooked, like water that accumulated in a disused container and the like,” he said.

She urged the local communities to be more responsible in taking care of the environment through gotong-royong activities.

“Gotong-royong activities do not mean getting outsiders to come and clean up your places of residence. It means local communities cooperating to maintain the cleanliness of these areas,” she said.

She advised parents to teach their children the importance of maintaining cleanliness beginning from home.

The programme, which was organised by the Pandan constituency and Rcomm Lestari, saw Dr Wan Azizah joining residents of the apartment to collect rubbish and clean up drains. — Bernama