Power To The People – Paving The Way
Recently, there has been a rising trend among Malaysians – they are stepping up and taking the responsibility to fix roads. Local road users are no stranger to potholes. The sight of potholes can be appalling, and even a small one poses danger to road users. After many road accidents, and long waits for authorities to act on complaints, these people decided to take action and better the safety of the road. Here are some of their stories.
1. Negeri Sembilan Uncle
An elderly uncle in Negeri Sembilan went viral on social media for filling up potholes on his own. The Facebook page Negeri Sembilan Kini showcased the elderly uncle taking matters into his own hands and addressing the issue of potholes. The pictures in question showed the uncle emptying the potholes of water, hauling a gravel mixture to fill them up and pressing down the mix to ensure an even road surface.
The post was captioned “Terbaik Pakcik ni. Suatu Usaha Murni dan mempermudahkan Orang Ramai. Usaha dari seseorang yang prihatin terhadap pengguna jalan raya. Nampak kecil tapi besar pada kami. Terima kasih” (Translation: “This uncle is the best. Genuine effort that helps the people. The effort of someone that cares for road users. It looks small but it’s huge to us. Thank you.”)
This came about a week after the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin, fell, and sustained minor injuries to the face after hitting a pothole while cycling in Ulu Langat. While concerned about his safety, netizens were equally dissatisfied with the local authorities’ response – only responding, apologising and repairing the road when a minister gets injured while ignoring multiple civilian complaints with even worse tragedies.
2. Ikatan Silaturahim Brotherhood
Ikatan Silaturahim Brotherhood is a grassroots group established by actor Azlan Sani Zawawi (better known as Lando Zawawi) since 2007. The Brotherhood fixes potholes and helps raise awareness about road maintenance issues. The Brotherhood has 54 teams nationwide with a membership of around 10,500 – some of the members being victims of pothole-related accidents themselves.
“We can go home and sleep now, but yet we still have to do it because a lot of people die from pothole accidents. That’s why we are here, and we don’t expect anything in return,” Lando said in an interview with The Star during one of his recent road repairs in the Klang Valley. “We are here for one thing: To make sure the roads are safer. I’m a taxpayer, these guys are taxpayers – we don’t need to do this.”
The repairs are carried out by volunteers almost every night using cold mix asphalt and bitumen membranes alongside their own tools. The Brotherhood funds these repair works using their own money and from the sale of their own merchandise, with Lando stating that it would cost as much as RM100 to fix a large hole.
Lando claimed that the group has patched up thousands of potholes since its inception. He hopes that their work will then push authorities to be more efficient. Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said, his ministry acknowledged the Brotherhood’s contribution and appreciated what they were doing to maintain the safety of the roads.
3. Puchong Community Group
A group of individuals in Puchong decided to repair several potholes that were caused by manhole covers on the road. The admin of Puchong News Group on Facebook wrote in a post that he, along with several others, have begun paying attention to potholes on Puchong roads since November when a death case was reported due to a pothole.
After having observed various tragedies due to potholes, with six on the same stretch of road, and complaints falling on deaf ears, the community decided enough was enough and got to work. They managed to patch the potholes using three bags of tar, pouring the tar into potholes and pressing it down with a hoe while others directed traffic.
The group admin revealed that the funds used to carry out the repairs came from individuals who paid for advertisements in the Puchong News Group, and thanked them for their support. The comments section on the post in the Facebook group were filled with netizens expressing their praise and gratitude toward the team for their hard work and effort.
“I wish you, good people, a life of peace!”
“There is love in the world ~ I am grateful to have you “
“Thank you to all of you kind-hearted people. A good heart has a good reward.”
These stories have been an inspiration to us. While there may be challenges all around us, not only on the roads, there still is hope. This calls to show that Malaysians have the strength to overcome these challenges, and the heart to make life better for all.