IT is good that the Federal Territories Ministry ordered Kuala Lumpur City Hall to install safety nets at People’s Housing Project (PPR) flats to minimise the risk of accidents due to residents throwing out rubbish from their floors. However, a long-term strategy must be introduced to solve the issue once and for all.
The safety nets may prevent injuries and deaths, but they may also encourage residents to continue throwing out rubbish, believing that it will not fall on people below.
Local authorities and flat resident associations must work to educate flat dwellers on the importance of civic responsibility. Residents have been known to throw empty sardine cans, soiled diapers, food leftovers, small mattresses and furniture.
Awareness campaigns need to be organised at low-cost flats to inform residents about the consequences of their irresponsible acts.
The local authorities must provide more basic amenities for garbage disposal, and practise a good maintenance culture to ensure facilities such as lifts are working.
They need to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to deter vandalism, littering and crime at flats. Residents who breach the rules and regulations should be evicted.
The case of S. Sathiswaran, 15, who died when he was hit by a chair thrown from the upper floors at Seri Petaling PPR shows the ugly side of Malaysians, who have no regard for public safety and the environment.
Many low-cost flats were built to house squatter families when their areas were earmarked for development projects.
Settling down in a new living environment needs adjustment and those who couldn’t adapt bring along their bad habits, such as throwing out garbage.
These bad habits must be addressed through educational programmes followed by enforcement.
Most residents do not even care if the discarded items damage the properties of others, especially vehicles on the ground floor. To make matters worse, the items could also injure or kill people.
The lack of civic responsibility and the failure to practise noble values are the cause of many societal problems.
The Education Ministry must re-evaluate the effectiveness of its syllabus on noble values and civic responsibility in schools.
Although students may have learnt noble values in schools and at home, teachers and parents should ensure that children practise them.
It is pointless for Malaysia to obtain developed-nation status if people do not practise noble values and show civic responsibility.
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Former member of Kuala Lumpur City Hall Advisory Board