The Mayor of Ipoh City Hall must have the right facts before blaming and insulting residents for the filthy state of this city because there is evidence that these problems are due to neglect by City Hall.
During the past decade, residents have brought to the attention of City Hall the same problems they encounter daily. But for unknown reasons City Hall failed to upgrade the inefficient and inadequate essential services and allowed the state of the city to deteriorate. The easiest way out is to blame the residents and make broken promises of a cleaner city.
Recently, the Mayor mischievously stated he was unable to clean the city because residents could not be disciplined and refrained from throwing rubbish indiscriminately.
One of the important duties of the Mayor is the maintenance of cleanliness. He is held responsible and accountable if he fails to perform this task with commitment. All problems pertaining to cleanliness must be solved and not swept under the carpet. Is it so difficult to find solutions to these problems? If he had investigated and analysed the thousands of reports lodged, the results would indicate most of these problems are created by his own staff, particularly the “illegal dumps”. This is to remind the Mayor of the assurance made on September 2012 of a cleaner Ipoh by the end of this year. After 13 months and a new management programme implemented, this assurance is another failure and as usual it is the fault of the residents. To cover up this failure and distract the attention of the residents, there are now plans to transform Ipoh into a sustainable and dynamic city by 2020, another mission impossible.
Despite failing to clean up the city for the Visit Perak Year 2012, the Mayor has again embarked on an impossible mission, grooming the city to regain its reputation as the cleanest in the country, ahead of Visit Malaysia 2014. The Mayor must be realistic. It is far beyond the capability of City Hall to achieve this target. He had admitted of not being able to clean the city because of indiscriminate dumping.
At present, drains in residential areas are cleaned once every few months and the large amount of rubbish are not collected for weeks or left permanently to rot on the road sides. The monthly collection of garden and other bulky rubbish is never on schedule and residents are forced to dump this rubbish wherever convenient. More dumps appear as the interval between each collection gets longer.
The trash collectors are also responsible for the illegal dumps. They are seen on their motorcycles heaping the bagged rubbish for collection by the dumpster. Spilled and damaged bags at these collection points are not their responsibility and soon become mini dumps.
Street sweeping in residential areas is no longer a service given by City Hall. Littering in the commercial areas will continue because there are very few litter bins. Pedestrians continue to lose rights as more businesses boldly display their wares on the pavement. The wet markets are just as dirty and congested. There is lax enforcement of law and order.
With such poor quality services, is it possible to maintain the city in an orderly and clean state? The four members of the state assembly and two members of parliament elected by the residents on promises to look after their interests have remained silent over the huge problem. City Councillors without executive powers, rely on the same lackadaisical MBI officers to resolve the similar complaints brought to their attention by residents. There were no zoning duties when the city was clean.
The mayor’s vision of a cleaner city was hampered by the lack of support and coordination from his senior officers and an inefficient workforce. Until such time that MBI is able to improve its services to a satisfactory level, City Hall should be very careful if it intends to blame the residents. The city would have been in a worse state if residents failed to cooperate. The state of the city is not solely due to littering but lack of commitment to develop Ipoh into an orderly spic and span city.
If City Hall is serious in cleaning up the city, it should cease all activities which does not benefit the residents. Set up a board of inquiry and take appropriate disciplinary action against all those who are responsible for this dirty state of the city.
Meanwhile, residents must wait patiently for the appointment of a Mayor of action and not words, to untangle the mess at City Hall.