AS we progress into another new year, one of the many issues of public concern is how to develop a strong maintenance culture in Malaysia 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 its maintenance of these facilities.
Poor maintenance of public buildings and infrastructures can lead to accidents and injuries. Public toilets which are not properly maintained can cause health problems and public inconvenience.
Construction sites which are not properly checked can give rise to breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Poorly maintained children’s playgrounds can also result in accidents and injuries.
Pot-holed roads (pic) and clogged public drains are a common sight in many districts and urban areas. Roads that are not properly maintained are hazardous to motorists, especially motorcyclists, and flash floods can occur if drains are not cleared.
Failure to prune tree branches and leaves that obstruct road signage along our highways, federal, state, town and municipal roads also cause inconvenience to motorists and lead to road accidents.
Our roads, hill slopes, bridges, buildings – such as schools, town halls and other infrastructures – are ageing due to wear and tear. Safety audits must be carried out and where maintenance works are needed action must be taken immediately to prevent accidents and tragedies.
Past incidents and tragedies are a reflection of malaise clearly manifested in inferior quality work, poor execution, inept management, poor maintenance and lack of ethics.
The issue of safety and health at work is also at stake here. Collapsing structures in buildings affect health and safety at work so these must not be overlooked.
It is time for all Malaysians to rein in the malaise of inferior quality work, poor execution, inept management and poor maintenance.
The comment that Malaysia is a case of a country “having First World infrastructure but Third World mentality” is very true when it comes to the culture of maintenance.
Despite the much publicised Government Transformation Programme, we have yet to see the transformation of attitudes and mindsets in both the public and private sectors to propagate an efficient maintenance culture.
The time has come for a new era which emphasises 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.
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