Road roulette? Fix the holes, not the apps

21 Jan 2024 10:00am
Pix for illustration purpose only. - Edited via Canva
Pix for illustration purpose only. - Edited via Canva

10 years ago, while working in a gym as a customer service agent, a colleague asked me for recommendations on condominium units for rent.

Having recently moved into a new condo along Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur, I suggested my complex.

She and her boyfriend scouted the area, but the next day she expressed concerns: “The roads leading up to the OUG (Overseas Union Garden) are full of potholes. It’s affordable, but the car maintenance might cost more than the rent!”

Well, my former colleague was right. Driving on roads plagued with potholes is a challenge familiar to many.

These menacing road defects can wreak havoc on a car's suspension, leading to costly repairs.

In some Western countries, local councils compensate for such damages. But the question remains: will our councils do the same?

The situation is even more perilous for motorbike riders and bicyclists. The risks they face are not just about damage to their vehicles but to their very lives.

Now, in 2024, I’ve memorised the safest paths to avoid these "waiting predators" on Old Klang Road.

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There have been countless times I’ve apologised to my car for accidentally hitting a pothole or, in frustration, berated the road itself.

It might sound odd, but that's my way of coping when authorities fail to address these issues.

Fast forward through two General Elections, and the problem persists. As I've observed, fixing potholes often results in an uneven, uncomfortable driving experience - much like riding over a chessboard. This analogy, once a humorous quip among friends, isn’t funny anymore.

Potholes can be deadly, as recent news stories tragically highlight.

The pothole issue in Malaysia has reached a critical point, almost like a pandemic.

Annually, we hear politicians and former ministers urging the public to report issues through official channels rather than social media, supposedly to aid the Public Works Department (JKR).

I believe that for politicians, fixing a pothole should be a straightforward task.

In other words, fixing a pothole isn't brain surgery; it's basic maintenance, and a politician's most fundamental duty.

These politicians actively campaign for votes, promising change and attention.

Yet, once elected, the burden of reporting issues falls back on the citizens, through specific apps rather than direct communication.

The slow response to pothole complaints seems to mirror the tragic outcomes they cause.

I am calling for a sense of urgency from local authorities across Malaysia.

A prompt and effective response is crucial, whether it's a pothole, a broken drain cover, a leaking pipe, or any other issue. It's about ensuring the safety and well-being of all citizens.