JUDGING from media reports about public complaints in various parts of the Klang Valley, it would appear that problems that frequently surface are about potholed roads, uncollected garbage, poor drainage leading to flash floods, damaged drains and road kerbs and generally poorly maintained public amenities.
One of the many issues of public concern is how to develop a strong maintenance culture in the interest of public safety and convenience.
Malaysia is known as a country which prides itself in the provision of first world infrastructure but not in terms of maintenance.
Poor maintenance of public amenities and infrastructure can lead to accidents and injuries. Public toilets which are not properly maintained can cause public inconvenience. Children’s playgrounds poorly maintained can also result in accidents and injuries. Roads and public drains not properly maintained can cause road accidents and flash floods.
Potholes left unattended for weeks greatly inconvenience motorists. Failure to prune tree branches and leaves that obstruct road signages along highways, federal, state and town roads not only cause inconvenience to motorists but also affect road safety.
These unpleasant occurrences are a reflection of a Malaysian malaise clearly manifested in inferior work quality, poor execution, inept management, poor maintenance and lack of ethics.
What is at stake is not only the question of ethics but also the issue of safety and health at work. The occurrence of collapsing structures in buildings is an issue affecting health and safety at work which must be addressed seriously.
It is time for everyone to curb the Malaysian malaise of inferior work quality, poor execution, inept management and poor maintenance.
Maintenance has never been the country’s forte. We are good at providing state-of-the-art buildings and equipment but when it comes to maintaining them and making them function properly we have many shortcomings and weaknesses.
The authorities and every Malaysian must imbibe the culture of strong maintenance and make it a way of life. Let us not have first world infrastructure but a third class mentality when it comes to maintenance.
Much has been spoken about the government’s transformation programme, however, we have yet to see transformation when it comes to addressing our nation’s maintenance culture by both the public and private sectors.
The time has come for the emergence of a new era which gives emphasis to the development of a strong maintenance and safety culture.
Improving a country’s image is not only the responsibility of the government but also the duty of each citizen who must be civic-minded.
Despite Malaysia’s success in economic development, we have not succeeded to develop a civic-minded society. Indiscriminate throwing of litter is still common despite public campaigns on anti-littering.
Let it not be said that Malaysians work hard to pursue wealth and success but lose sight of their civic obligations.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE