Letter to the Editor
KUALA LUMPUR City Hall’s (DBKL) services have deteriorated over the past 30 years although I would have expected its services to have improved since I first started to highlight its poor services in the early 1990s.
The Aduan Potholes DBKL WhatsApp feedback ( (011-6239 6652/https://wa.link/jobdg3) may have been launched by former mayor, Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah since 2021 yet the response to complaints about potholes at the junction between Jalan Lang Emas and Jalan Burung Hantu in Kepong made directly to mayor Datuk Seri Kamaruzzaman Mat Salleh and DBKL’s public relations director Zurida Hashim, have been lukewarm to say the least.
It makes travelling on this junction a very unpleasant experience for residents of both housing estates. It is like having to ride on the “sea waves” due to the uneven resurfacing of the roads.
No difference back then and now
In the past, Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters were fast to point out that Kepong was under the Opposition, hence it was like an “adopted” child in the eyes of the ruling party.
However, now both Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng and Segambut, MP Hannah Yeoh belong to the same party that forms part of the unity government. In fact, Yeoh is also a cabinet minister by virtue of being the Youth and Sports Minister.
This goes to show that regardless of which political party forms the federal government, the local government thinks – or at least the way some of its senior officials behave – as if they are totally an independent tier of government to itself.
The KL City Hall officers cannot expect the minister to go down to the ground and complain about potholes. The onus is therefore on them and their mayor to ensure that roads are in good conditions for safe rides, especially motorcyclists who can easily fall when their tyres hit the potholes.
Take, for example, several potholes along Jalan Kepong which have appeared due to the heavy downpour. Some contractors have not closed the manhole covers properly after completing their work, making it dangerous for motorcyclists.
Some of the civil servants have become “immune” and think they are no longer accountable to the rakyat who pay their salaries. This is why former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi labelled them as “Little Napoleons”.
Mayor not proactive enough
Friends of The Pudu Ulu Park Association chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye has complained to KL mayor Datuk Seri Kamaruzzaman Mat Salleh about the condition of the Taman Pudu Ulu Recreational Park yet nothing was done to improve the park.
According to Lee, letters written to the park manager was never responded to. He claimed that the mayor had given him “mere lip service”. Of course, the former Bukit Bintang MP has expected the mayor to personally direct his men to carry out the repair work at the park.
For someone holding such a senior position, Kamaruzzaman should know that the public is watching his performance. If he fails to monitor the performance of his staff, it reflects badly on both the City Hall council and the mayor.
DBKL is supposed to set a good example for other city councils around the country. There is no honeymoon for the mayor. Kamaruzzaman must rise to the occasion and not be seen as a highly paid non-performer regardless of whether there is a Federal Territories Minister or not.
Kamaruzzaman and his senior officers play an important role in ensuring that the federal capital of Kuala Lumpur is always in tip top condition.
Poor response to complaints
This writer’s experience bears testimony that complaints raised to even the head honcho of DBKL are ignored.
On several occasions, this writer has highlighted to both Kamaruzzaman and DBKL PR director Zurida about the road condition along Jalan Lang Emas in Taman Bukit Maluri where there are several deep potholes.
Despite DBKL having some of the better equipment compared to other smaller municipal councils, the way some of these potholes being patched are uneven and sloppy.
If DBKL must wait for the media to highlight the complaints before any action is taken, the senior officers at DBKL might as well resign for failing to carry out their jobs.
A former senior government officer pointed out to this writer that the potholes are not only being unattended to at Jalan Kepong; even Jalan Maarof in Bangsar is riddled with potholes!
Since the appointment of the mayor is made by the chief secretary to the federal government, the question falls flat on Tan Sri Zuki Ali on how he plans to ensure that the mayors he appoints are doing their job. His own credibility is at stake when the people he appointed as mayors underperform.
Certainly, the rakyat do not have to wait till Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar who will be Malaysia’s next monarch come January next year to point out to senior DBKL officers that they have failed to improve their services for the federal capital.
Kuala Lumpur is a modern city with tall buildings but its public amenities and maintenance culture are of the Third World! – Dec 12, 2023
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.