Large trees falling and Malaysia’s poor maintenance culture

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The trees that came crushing down recently in several places – from Nila to Kuala Lumpur to Penang – tell a story. 

As the country faces the wrath of climate change, some claim that the heavy sudden downpours are the sole cause of these trees uprooting. 

But painful truths may lie behind the curtain of excuses. The Malaysian culture of poor maintenance is probably the root cause. 

The authorities responsible for the streets, walkways and curbs need to be more transparent and accountable. Trees should not come crashing down for no reason. 

Either these trees are old and dying or have succumbed to disease. Worse, some trees have been badly mauled by ‘development’ work carried out around them.

It doesn’t look like anyone was diligently monitoring these trees. It appears we have failed to sustain a maintenance culture with strict procedures and quality control.

The lack of a reliable gold standard maintenance culture is prevalent in the country. From offices and business premises right up to our tamans (residential areas), we see glaring examples of how maintenance is lagging. 

When the condition of our hospitals, government buildings, shoplots, markets, schools and public parks declines seriously – even as soon as a year after their launch – we should get the drift. 

Our culture is one of knee-jerk reactions – tackling problems only after repeated complaints or when the media goes to town with an expose.

The standard answers or explanations we often get further attests to our shabby maintenance culture. 

From politicians to heads of government departments, we hear, “We will look into it.” Or they end up blaming everything under the sun except owning up to the lack of a maintenance culture. As usual, many take cover using the name of God and the forces of nature to escape responsibility and accountability. 

READ MORE:  Penang water disruption: Is it a question of no maintenance or lack of money for maintenance?

Unless we adopt a more proactive stance instead of being continually reactive, the poor maintenance culture is unlikely to change. 

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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