THE fact that flash floods easily occur in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya in the Klang Valley after a downpour is due to poor drainage and our deplorable maintenance culture.
Poor supervision, a lackadaisical attitude and inadequate budgets are the major factors for poor maintenance in our cities. The lack of maintenance culture should be a concern that every Malaysian shares.
For example, if we look at our drains, we can see that they are mostly clogged up with debris and litter, particularly those around construction sites.
The road leading to Subang Airport, where the massive Light Rail Transit construction project is taking place, is a case in point. During heavy rain, flash floods occur on both sides of the road.
This is aggravated by indiscriminate dumping of rubbish.
Due to the poor maintenance culture or inadequate budget, these drains are not cleaned and broken ones have not been replaced.
Our poor maintenance culture is not only reflected in our public drains and drainage system.
Look at the condition of our roads. Potholes that are left unattended for weeks, or even months, can endanger road users.
Failure to prune tree branches along roads also pose a danger to motorists. Poor maintenance of public buildings and infrastructure often leads to accidents and injuries.
Public toilets which are not properly maintained can cause inconvenience. Children’s playgrounds in poor condition can result in accidents and injuries.
Incidents of defects and breakdowns in new government buildings are still fresh in our minds. Problems of such nature are embarrassing and too serious to be ignored.
Malaysia is a country that prides itself in the provision of developed nation infrastructure but not in terms of its maintenance.
The authorities and every Malaysian must imbibe the culture of maintenance and make it a way of life. Let us not have first-class infrastructure but third-class mentality when it comes to maintenance.
The time has come for the government and the private sector to see to the emergence of a new mindset that gives emphasis to the development of a strong maintenance and safety culture.
The Government’s Transformation Programme should include that culture as one of its key drivers.
n TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE, Kuala Lumpur