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LETTER | To get solution, find out what irks us first

LETTER | There is no doubt that the government is in a hurry to prove its worth to the people. This can be seen by our prime minister in announcing new allocations and projects on many occasions.

Despite this, many are complaining that the government has not acted fast enough.

As for me, I think the government is not slow. The government is in fact acting too fast, probably without full comprehension of the projects announced.

I understand sometimes firefighting is necessary, especially in critical and emergency situations. However, Malaysia is also famous for its abandoned projects or for doing things without understanding the underlying causes or problems.

Let me illustrate with a few examples why allocating money and announcing projects are not the path to solving our problems.

Recently, it was found that five of the six Customs scanning machines are not functional at KLIA. Our immediate response was to buy the new ones to replace the existing ones.

Self-reflection needed

But have we ever asked how the Customs was able to operate with five of the six machines not operational?

Perhaps, we did not need six scanning machines in the first place. Maybe we did not use the machine properly. Perhaps, these machines were never properly maintained.

If any of the possibilities above is true, what use is there for us to quickly replace the machines? We will be back in the same situation in no time.

I am just using the KLIA Customs scanning machines as an example. In reality, incidents of unused, underused and abused equipment and machines are very common in public service.

We can buy the most sophisticated machines, but if proper use and maintenance are not done accordingly, we will face the same situation in no time.

The same goes for school toilets, army barracks and police quarters that are dilapidating and in disrepair. Did we not have periodic maintenance of all government buildings and quarters?

Where did the allocation go? Who are the people in charge? We can’t be paying multiple layers of bureaucracy for doing nothing, can we?

The prime minister taking an interest in school toilets, army barracks and police quarters should be the exception rather than the general rule. How many times can he do this?

The system must work, if not, no amount of new allocation or projects can solve our problems.

For how long already have we been experiencing abandoned public housing projects?

Each new government that came along would try to “revive” some of these projects but the problem continues to persist in most part of my adulthood and now growing old. Did Singapore have abandoned HDB projects?

It is obvious that lack of money is not our only problem. I think the problem we face has to do with our national ethos - a combination of greed, lack of professionalism, cronyism, corruption, and the inability to separate the wheat from the chaff.

If we do not know what irks us, we will not know the solution.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.