Away from politics again, this Letter To The Editor was first published in January 2002 in the New Straits Times.
I refer to recent proactive measure taken by the new Datuk Bandar Of Kuala Lumpur to form a pothholes busting team to repair and resurface potholes in roads around the city.
The bold move seems to be a good start for the new Datuk Bandar and also good news to the long suffering motorists. The public wishes more of this action oriented initiatives will be taken with public welfare and safety in mind.
In is the hope of people in the other cities, towns and districts that their respective authorities will emulate city hall's bold initiative in the interest of public.
Although the measure to have a pothhole busting team on standby with information relayed through the hotlines introduced is a good move, the city hall has to look at the actual and overall conditions of the roads in the city where potholes is not the only problem.
Manholes along the roads in the city is also a problem and equally dangerous for both motocyclist and other motorists.
If city hall care to notice, manholes are usually located everywhere on the roads and majority of it were uneven with the road surface. The most probable cause is that the manholes perimeters were not covered evenly with the road surface when resurfacing of roads were done. The contractors or the JKR seems to be ignorant and leaves to manhole perimeters uneven after resurfacing the roads.
Many accidents happened due to motorist's action to avoid these uneven manholes. A very good example would be Jalan Ampang and Jalan Sultan Ismail. The manholes are everywhere and it is impossible to avoid every other manholes.
I would also suggest that the Datuk Bandar and other city hall authorities take a drive along these roads on a normal proton and he would understand that extend of damage these manholes can inflict to vehicles. He should also take a ride on a motocycle and try avoiding all the uneven manholes in a normal traffic situation.
The city folks has been suffering for a long time dealing with this menace and it is hoped that the new management of city hall will take notice and take some concrete measures to solve this problem.
RECAP : Sad to say, after 7 years, the sufferings continue with the problem gone from bad to worse. I am now working in downtown KL and still have problems avoiding manholes along Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Raja Chulan although I should have been familiar, been driving on these roads almost everyday.
I went back to Johor last week and did drive through an estate road. Surprisingly, the road, although narrow and leaves the tyres red, was far more easier on my wheels and to manoeuvre as compared to Jalan Raja Chulan.
Not sure why DBKL personnel don't feel the same. Maybe because they are now driving SUVs and MPVs (not sure why they need them though, maybe they need 4WDs to wade through KL's concrete jungle or even for the same reason, manholes would be easy on their huge wheels).
Again, the reason is development, new development requires additional laying of underground cables, drainage etc and due to this, more manholes are added.
There appears to be no effort to ensure that the manhole covers are on level with the road surface. Contractors who resurfaces the road after adding the manholes are not made accountable for the mess they leave behind.
Anyone still remember the pothole busting team? Whatever happened to them!
The same situation persists in all major and even small towns. Although Malaysia is known to have good road networks and connectivity, the quality is questionable. I would still prefer driving through the old granite roads.
Sounds trivial but these are the basic needs of the people, and these are the things that MPs, Councillors and media should be pressuring DBKL to deliver, not focussing on some road signs, 30% quota, which MP is buta, or even who is the next Mayor of KL. Somehow or rather, it leads to politics!