“Jalanraya is basic, man. Kalau you nampak lobang tapi biarkannya jadi makin besar and you just leave it there, the problem gets bigger.” (Roads are basic. If you see a pothole and leave it there without fixing it, the hole just gets bigger and bigger).
Almost a year ago, the media reported that the actor Azlan Sani Zawawi, also known as Lando Zawawi, was leading a group called the Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood in fixing potholes around KL.
According to Lando, the Brotherhood bikers would act after raising complaints to DBKL. If the official response was either delayed or lacking, they would spring to action. The group purchased their own equipment and materials and started fixing the potholes themselves – often leaving a “calling card” on the repair work.
PopTeeVee‘s The Side Project followed the Brotherhood during one of their night repair sessions. The interview reveals that the Brotherhood have continued to fix potholes until today.
Lando explains that what prompted to do this in the first place was when one of his friends passed away during an accident, caused by a hole in the road. He was indignant that the pothole was left unfixed even after the incident.
“My drive is basically to save the motorcyclists,” Lando says in the video interview. “Apa yang you nampak (what you see) is just on the surface. It looks like we’re outlaws, right?” The spray paint and nighttime road works may make it seem like they’re doing something illegal, but they’re just out to protect motorists.
But of course, this isn’t their job. Potholes in KL should be addressed by local councils (and the relevant contractors). Although one of Lando’s recent Facebook postings praised DBKL for its speed in repairing a pothole, many other defective portions of road were also reported that have yet to be addressed.
Former KL mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib previously acknowledged that road repair contractors have not been responding effectively. What the brotherhood accomplishes in a couple of minutes – with their own resources – goes to show how absurd it is that pothole reports to the respective authorities are often neglected for several weeks.
The Brotherhood’s actions are an example of DIY activism, where everyday Malaysian citizens act together from the ground up to solve problems. The upside of this is that pressing issues are solved quickly and specific needs are met. However, DBKL has previously discouraged the Brotherhood from carrying out independent repair works. You could argue that by taking action, the bikers are letting the contractors off the hook.
Let’s hope that KL’s new mayor Datuk Mhd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz tunes into The Side Project.
At time of publication, DBKL has yet to respond to our queries on its latest developments regarding potholes and road safety.
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