Pothole crusader "Lando" exposes systemic flaws, urges meritocracy in infrastructure overhaul

Lando monitors new app, skeptical of promises as pothole woes persist

20 Jan 2024 09:02am
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Pix generated via Canva
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Pix generated via Canva

SHAH ALAM - Azlan Sani, the man dubbed "Lando" for his tireless efforts patching Malaysia's potholed roads, isn't mincing words.

In an interview with Sinar Daily, he ripped into the country's infrastructure woes, exposing systemic flaws and government inertia while pushing for a radical solution: legal action against negligent authorities.

Lando attributed Malaysia's pothole issues to various factors, including coordination issues and unstable allocation systems among ministries and departments.

He pointed out that outdated laws, ineffective fines for utility companies, excessive bureaucracy plagued by corruption, and a lack of expertise in road maintenance exacerbate the situation.

"Unmonitored quarry quality, inappropriate road specifications, and the opening of factories in residential areas without road upgrades contribute to the problem.

“Factories opening in residential areas without corresponding road upgrades, groundwater problems with broken utility pipes and burst culverts and weak drainage systems (especially within the Department of Irrigation and Drainage), delays in developers gazetting roads to Public Works Department or local authorities.”

“Last but not least, corruption. I am too frustrated to comment anymore about that issue,” he said.

He explained how potholes reappear like stubborn weeds due to poor materials, bad patching practices, and unaddressed water problems.

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His own organisation, Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood, prioritises high-complaint areas, patching paths near schools, places of worship, and marked danger zones.

Some of Lando and his Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood associates during pothole patching process.
Some of Lando and his Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood associates during pothole patching process.

Funded by personal savings, sales, and occasional sponsorships, their monthly costs roughly reach RM5,000, fluctuating with weather.

“In 2024, we prioritise pathways around educational institutions and places of worship.

"Our public pathways will be marked as danger signs.

“Because this new government has introduced the ‘MYJalan' app claiming to solve the country's road problems, we let the people assess first.

“Until mid-January, we are still monitoring the effectiveness of this supposedly sophisticated complaint system.

“Unfortunately, there has been no change observed through social media comments.

"The problem of waiting for allocations still plagues related departments,” he added.

He also pushed back against the automatic blame placed on overweight lorries, arguing that road specs failing to meet industrial standards despite permits for ports and factories shouldn't lead to driver scapegoating.

“To address this, I advocate for pursuing direct claims or legal actions against road owners.

“These initiatives cover repair costs and enhance No Claims Bonus, emphasising accountability for road conditions and encouraging compensation-seeking for damages incurred, even with insurance in place,” he said.

Call for Meritocracy in Ministerial Appointments

He proposed that ministers should be appointed based on expertise rather than political affiliations to ensure knowledgeable individuals oversee crucial matters, thus reducing budget allocation to political cronies.

“Appointment based on meritocracy may foster more effective solutions to address and rectify the pothole problem,” he added.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi recently revealed that out of 5,836 complaints registered on the MYJalan app since its launch in August 2023, 1,532 pertain to roads under the Ministry's jurisdiction.

The Ministry has resolved 676 road-related complaints within one to 30 days and spent RM73.45 million on pothole repairs and street furniture maintenance on federal roads in the first half of 2023.