KUALA LUMPUR – It was reported in the media recently that the benches, walls and toilets at several MRT stations had been vandalised within days after the RM20 billion Kajang-Sungai Buloh MRT line started operations early this month.
To me this news comes of no surprise! It is just a reflection of how far the third class mentality has taken deep root in certain segments of the Malaysian society in a country that boasts for first class infrastructure and marches towards a high income nation.
Acts of vandalism have been reported time and again causing huge losses for the nation and great inconvenience for the public. The perpetrators have been chastised but there is nothing to stop their destructive behaviour.
Also, many of the perpetrators feel the trail of destruction they leave behind being a work of art but for the others it is an eyesore and totally irresponsible behaviour.
Like the authorities who are at their wits end in putting a stop to vandalism, I too have given up on these vandals.
However, for me, vandalism is not limited to destroying, stealing or damaging public property. And vandalism is not committed by individuals alone even organisations or businesses can be the culprit. The illegal money lenders or Ah Long who paste their business stickers all over the town are also vandals.
If vandals do not damage or deface the bus stops, lamp posts, playground and recreational areas, post boxes and etc, the Ah Longs will.
Even your mild mannered neighbours could well turn out to be vandals, albeit inadvertently.
Many of the residents turn into accidental vandals with their unkept lawns turning into a mini jungle, poorly maintained garden pond and flower pots turning into mosquito breeding ground and the household pets pooping freely all over the neighbourhood, annoying the neighbours.
Yet they say the hardcore vandals can be found in high rises. Hence, the lift is broken most of the time, it rains rubbish at the ground floor, occupants turn up the volume past midnight and almost every other amenity is broken or damaged, and rubbish strewn in the corridors and common areas.
A colleague of mine living in a condominium in Lembah Pantai laments on the conduct of the neighbours above, who conveniently throw rubbish and other items to the ground. A sliding door once came down crashing as its owner must have thought it is the most convenient way to discard it without even the slightest consideration for the safety of others below!
The government has been spending a huge sum in developing and maintaining the public housing scheme for the poor, unfortunately vandalism is most prevalent here.
Going back to the vandalism at the MRT station, the authorities and party managing the premises should take stern action on anyone caught vandalising public properties. It will serve as a deterrence for potential vandals in the future.
Vandalism cannot be allowed to continue as thousands of people will be using the MRT daily.
MRT Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp), the company managing the MRT line, is said to have installed 6,018 CCTVs along the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) alignment and facilities and to me it is heartening to know efforts are underway to track down the vandals.
Under Section 425 of the Penal Code, stern action can be taken against vandals, including being jailed for up to three months if found guilty!
I feel the perpetrators should also be made to clean the mess they leave behind or repair the damages they did.
For me, eradicating vandalism begins right from home. If the children get away scot free for their misdemeanours at home they will do the same while they are outdoors. So parents have to set a good example for their children to follow.
Even outdoors, the parents have to keep a check on their children’s behaviour. We can see children running about freely in the shopping centres, playing on the moving escalator or lift, with the parents being hardly concerned of their children’s safety.
I once rebuked two children for messing with the ATM machine as their parents who lined up at another ATM machine appeared hardly bothered of their children’s antics. If the parents themselves are so indifferent, how are the children to have first world mentality! -BERNAMA