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Published: Friday December 13, 2013 MYT 1:41:00 PM
Updated: Friday December 13, 2013 MYT 4:34:21 PM

Low level of tolerance among Malaysians, says Public Complaints Bureau

PUTRAJAYA: What do barking dogs and house renovations have in common? They invariably lead to complaints from neighbours.

In fact, the Public Complaints Bureau of the Prime Minister's Department constantly handles such matters.

The bureau's secretary-general Datuk Mahani Tan Abdullah said the complaints showed a low level of tolerance among some Malaysians.

She pointed out that it was all about living harmoniously and getting along with neighbours. And when a neighbour carries out an activity, it is bound to affect others to some extent.

"When people carry out renovations, the other side will complain about the knocking and banging.

"Then they start questioning how the local authorities could have approved such a plan. When the authorities say that a plan had been approved, they start looking for other things to complain about," said Mahani.

The bureau even received complaints about ash from joss sticks from the neighbour's house landing in their house.

"Things like this are bound to happen as wind would blow the ash. The complainants are trying to say that the local authority must fine them," Mahani said.

The bureau, which is under the purview of the Prime Minister's Department, acts as a watchdog to government agencies and departments.

Mahani said some of the complaints were plain unreasonable from people who wanted to "complain just about everything."

"Some people can go on for hours venting their frustrations. Some refuse to accept our answer," she said.

She added that there were also complainants who took "tons of pictures" and submitted complaints as thick as thesis reports just to prove a point.

"Some of these hardcore complainants try to make all government departments look bad," she said, adding that what started as a complaint against a government department could end up being complaints against the bureau.

Mahani said if the bureau could not resolve a complaint, it would send a final letter to the complainant. Any further complaint on the matter would not be entertained.

Mahani noted that the number of complainants using abusive and foul language had reduced since they put a caveat in the website that the bureau had a right to disregard complaints of such nature.

"We can accept long and stern complaints, but when it comes to abusive language there is no exception," she said adding that complaints were a form of feedback.