Damn Those Shoddy Roadworks!


(The right way to do a patch for potholes – instead of covering only the hole, cut a bigger area and patch in the right way and follow up on the patch work. How many times you have seen this in the Bolehland? Image source: http://www.gallagherpaving.com)

Read these stories back in 2011:-

Whether in residential or commercial areas, travelling around the city often means a bumpy ride because of the potholes and badly patched stretches of roads. In many places, roads in good condition are dug up by utility and telecommunications companies for the laying of pipes and cables. They are then badly resurfaced.

In April, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng had highlighted at least six places in his constituency where roads were dug up without a permit. A spokesperson from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) corporate communications department confirmed that there have been cases where contractors operate without approval from DBKL.

“If we find out that they have no permit, we will contact the respective companies. If the dug-up areas have not been patched up or resurfaced, we will do it for them and issue them the bill. “We have also found out that many contractors appointed by the companies have no expertise in resurfacing roads,” he said.



Most councils require a deposit from companies before they are allowed to carry out any roadwork. If the council finds the resurfacing job has not been done properly, resulting in sedimentation on the road, the deposit is then forfeited. It has been reported that RM500,000 per kilometre is needed to carry out road resurfacing.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said the two causes for the bad road conditions in the Klang Valley were the old method of patching the holes as well as underground water leakage. “There are also contractors who take the easy way out to save money,” he said. However, there is not enough enforcement to check on the quality of roadworks. In his constituency alone, there are holes from digging work that have been left as they are for months, especially in Segambut Dalam, Mont Kiara and Hartamas.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Fuad Ismail said 80% of the potholes and uneven roads were caused by utilities and telecommunication companies digging up the roads to install and repair their cables. He said there were so many of such roadworks that it had become an embarrassment to DBKL because the blame was often laid at its door.


The road near my workplace was bad so much so that I was even contemplating of buying a 4 wheel drive vehicle for my daily commute. It was a similar case with another stretch of road near my housing area. It gets worse – certain part of the road gets flooded once it rains. Then one day, a couple of days before the general election, a “miracle” happened and it happened overnight – it could have been one of the pre-election goodies. The road was resurfaced and to a quality that all Malaysians can be proud of. And the level of the road has been raised to ensure it does not get flooded whenever it rains. And it was so for a couple of weeks until some bastards decided that they need to dig up the whole stretch of the beautifully resurfaced road to do some piping work and they decided to do this at peak hours. They closed one part of the road, causing the already terrible traffic jam to be even worse. And then they started digging and that lasted for few days. Then they do the worse kind of patching work ever once done. The patch work was not the same level of the road and ended up as mini bumps all over the place. Some started to form into mini potholes. And after a couple of days of rain, it went bad to worse.

Potholes and bad road work is not new in Malaysia – as far as one can remember, this has been so for many years. Whenever I see the excavator digging into the beautifully laid road (resurfaced with taxpayers’ money), it pains me greatly. And it has been a norm in Bolehland to see some buggers digging up the road just after it has been perfectly laid on and not before that. Don’t these idiots plan before they do things? Don’t they check first with the relevant authorities and get their approval to ensure that whatever roadwork to be done is done before the road is scheduled to be resurfaced? Don’t they realize that they causing the taxpayers some serious money to resurface the road again? Probably they are the same idiots who queue up at the express lane at the supermarkets with more than 10 items despite a large notice at the counters.

Never mind, let’s assume that they are digging up all over the place in the “best interest” of their paying consumers. After all, wouldn’t we all be making a lot noise when our internet gets disconnected or the water supply breaks down unannounced? And let’s assume that that they are unable to plan the digging before the road is resurfaced due to some unavoidable circumstances, red-tapes at the local authority or to some serious emergency (where they could not afford to wait). The next question in mind is why these buggers can’t resurface back the road in a proper way and without the bulging patch all over the place or the sink-holes (due to insufficient top soil, heavy traffic or bad weather). Can’t they put themselves in the shoe of the long suffering road users who have to ply the same road and risk serious damage to their vehicles after that shoddy patch work?

After all, if they know how to dig, they also should know how to patch, right? No excuse of them not being well-verse with road-work or their sub-contractor not doing job to the right specifications and quality (it’s alright if it looks ugly or messy but at least it need to be strong enough to take the usual stress and not turn into a bigger pothole). No excuses of the weather (the usual sorry excuse) or heavy traffic on the road – it is already known fact, so whatever patch work done must take this into consideration. Unfortunately instead, we get the usual quick fix of placing back the content dug out and then pouring the bitumen on the pothole and simply patch it to cover the hole – some to the same size of the hole instead of a bigger area and leaving plenty of spaces for water to seep in and make it worse.

Why the shoddy work? Is it because someone is trying to make that extra bit of profit from saving up money to be spent on a proper patch work? Or is it because it has been sub-contracted to less competent contractors – one who has less experience, skills and the know-how but formed just to milk the lucrative Government projects? And what happened to the enforcement aspect of the local authorities inspecting the patch work and to ensure that it is up to mark and if it is not, to force the contractors to redo the patch work or fine them left right center for the poor patch work (and then use the fine to do a proper resurfacing later or to reimburse motorists who suffered damages to their vehicles). Do that and they will think twice of short-changing the taxpayers when it comes to doing a good job – can we?

And since potholes have been with us since the creation of the roadways, are we also looking on whether we need to improve on how we tackle potholes with new technologies. Or are we still far off from this kind of long term solution for a long outstanding problem. In the meantime, we should be up arms against anyone who dig up the roads but don’t bother to take the time and proper care to do a professional repair work. After all, this is eating up into the taxpayers funds in the long run and creates unnecessary danger to all road users.


Recycling News

(Poster source: http://www.theclimatecommunity.com)

Let’s talk on something else that seems to take back seat amidst the political circus in Malaysia – the environment and in particular, level of recycling in Malaysia

In early 2009, this was reported:-

Malaysia’s housing ministry bemoaned the country’s low recycling rate which is currently a dismal 5 per cent, far lower than its neighbouring South-east Asian neighbours, official news reports said Monday

Neighbouring Singapore recorded a 56% recycling rate last year and the Philippines at 12% while Malaysia’s northern neighbours Thailand boasted almost a 50% cycling rate in 2008

Another source on the net reveals that most of the developed countries have almost 50% or higher recycling rate compared to Malaysian’s 5% (it may have improved by 0.0001% in 2010 but we will never know for sure).

MNI reveals that for every 10 newspaper sold, 6 are recovered through recycling. Although percentage wise, it looks impressive (60%), it still means 128,000 tonnes (2.55 million trees) going to the waste.

To tell you the truth, I am not surprised why this is happening.

Firstly look at the various new housing areas – just how many of them have special recycling disposal areas? When it comes to local authorities setting up separate recycling bins, those housing areas managed by MPSJ faired better (I do not know about others, if they are good, please let me know). I have seen dedicated recycling bins placed in designated areas, usually in strategic places and the response has been good.

But it is not enough because secondly, even if we segregated the rubbish into recyclable ones and non recyclable ones – when the dump truck comes, it gets all mixed up. So it is back to square one.

(The normal Malaysian rubbish “recycling” style – just throw it away. Photo source: http://singaporeanskeptic.blogspot.com)

The fact of the matter is that there is little effort put into getting more people to recycle and for those who do, to facilitate the recycling process. There is a dire need to attack the lack of recycling among Malaysians and it should be in two prongs – one from the end users (people like you and me) and one from the authorities.

End Users

Obviously it has to start with educating people so that the process of recycling starts at home – the source of million tonnes of rubbish on yearly basis. We used to collect old newspapers and sell it to the old newspaper man. But now days, we hardly buy newspapers so one part of recycling items is resolved. Bottles are usually “recycled” for storage. We used to keep our garbage separate based on the “recyclability” of the items but after seeing our “different” bags gets dumped on the same side of the garbage dump truck, we got discouraged.


It will be a good start on recycling if the local authorities start with the placement of the specialised recycling bins and arrangements can be made with private rubbish collectors to ensure that it is not get collected in the same pile. The more these dedicated recycling bins are made visible at residential areas; it will encourage more people to recycle more of the household rubbish slowly and surely.

Mention recycling to some people and expect to get a strange stare back from them. That itself shows that the public awareness is not that wide and is well known. We need to make a better effort – both from end users and the local authorities if we want to move beyond the dismal 5% recycling rate.

Read Also

Why Recycle

How to Recycle

Local Authority: Nothing is perfect but sometimes…

(I had to read it twice to believe it – an actual acknowledgement from local authority?)

In a time where the local authorities are being called various names like secret society, unfair and high-handed, I thought my complaint on the blocked drainage near my residential area to MPSJ would fall into deaf ears or be acted on after a long delay.

So, I thought of calling MPSJ, tell them about my problem and then blog about my experience with them. So, there I was at their website looking for the contact details when I noted something called “IResponz”. Apparently it has been there for sometime now but I must have missed it.

Then I thought of putting through my complaint online and then blog on ineffective the online complaint was. So I quickly clicked on the complaint page, clicked on drop down list of pre-defined category complaints, stated the area and a detailed description of my complaint and clicked “Simpan” to save the complaint. It was easy – it only took me less than 2 minutes. There was even a status page for me to keep track of the complaints made so far.

All this time, I kept thinking that although it was great to do things online, I had a strong feeling that no action will be taken based on my online complaint. I was so wrong

On the next day, I received a formal acknowledgement letter from MPSJ citing complaint reference number and details on my complaint for my records. A checking on the “IResponz” page indicate that they have checked on my complaint, provided details of their action taken and informed that the complaint is considered as closed. True enough, I checked on the area that I complained and the drainage was indeed cleaned.

The mechanism of responding to my complaint was fast and efficient, something I did not expect from our local authorities in view of the bad publicity that they have been getting. Nothing is perfect yet. My complaint on a bad road near my workplace to MPPJ on the other hand is yet to be act on despite appearing in Malay Mail Hotline twice and numerous calls to them.

It is high time that things go online and acted upon effectively & efficiently – MPSJ seems to have gotten it right at least for a simple complaint like blocked drainage. One thumbs up for MPSJ for now.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Governance)