Shameful, disgraceful and appalling are apt words to use when witnessing some people who lack basic civic-mindedness defiling Kuala Lumpur’s environment.
Some city dwellers think they can litter and it is the duty of City Hall workers to clear the mess.
When I see such things happening in our society, I can only conclude that it is a reflection of the culprits’ upbringing.
Sadly, our education system too has not moulded our students to be civic-minded with noble values of what is expected from a good citizen.
Perhaps, it is time to make civics a mandatory subject in schools.
People don’t realise the dangers littering has on our environment, wildlife and the economy.
Besides polluting our neighbourhoods and being a health hazard, littering destroys the city’s natural beauty.
Don’t these people who litter have a sense of concern and sentiment for our city?
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), in a Facebook posting, is calling on the public to start picking up their own rubbish.
City Hall shared some photos of the aftermath of New Year’s Eve celebrations, which saw the streets filled with litter.
In a series of photos taken around Bukit Bintang and Dataran Merdeka, water bottles, plastic bags and party string spray cans as well as used food packages can be seen.
Still with the “third-class mentality,” read the caption for the images.
Not a good beginning of the year for Kuala Lumpur.
People who dirty public places obviously lack moral rectitude and self-respect.
Nobody with a sense of decency and dignity would behave this way.
How can we compare Kuala Lumpur with other cities in terms of beauty when we have citizens behaving in such a manner?
Obviously, these Malaysians did not watch Japan playing in the last World Cup.
The sight of Japanese fans bagging rubbish after a match startled the non-Japanese.
Japanese players are well-known for doing the same in their team dressing room — hanging up towels, cleaning the floor and even leaving a thank-you note for staff.
Public service efficiency and a high level of civic consciousness hinge on three principles – engineering, education and enforcement.
To prevent littering, we must consider some of the following measures:
1. Closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras should be placed at strategic places to nab culprits.
2. Blitz in the print and electronic media on the importance of a clean environment.
3. Place “No littering” signs in conspicuous locations in the city.
4. Place more rubbish bins in various parts of the city.
5. Consistently and harshly prosecute those who litter.
6. Teach our students civics and ethics of a good citizen in schools.
There is no alternative solution than to send a strong message to litterbugs.
Littering is not the only predicament the city faces.
Motorists violating traffic regulations are another peril and it is common to see them not only parking along yellow lines but also double-parking.
Even residential areas are not spared. Bangsar Park is a prime example.
Just drive along Lorong Maarof 1 on any work day and you will see not only cars parked on a double line but also on the public walkway.
Cars are also parked indiscriminately on yellow lines at the intersection of Jalan Limau Manis and Jalan Limau Nipis with Lorong Maarof 1.
A major problem arises when buses coming from Jalan Limau Manis find it difficult to negotiate the turning into Lorong Maarof 1.
I have seen DBKL enforcement officers issuing summons to vehicles flouting the law but the offences are repeated daily.
Some of these lawbreakers even have the audacity to tear up the compounds issued.
Enforcement officers should take drastic measures such as towing the cars away as this will deter these motorists from repeating their offences.
My wish for 2024 is for City Hall to amend its by-laws and go hard on littering and traffic offenders and also make it mandatory for public and private premises to have handrails on their steps.
I have seen senior citizens slipping and falling in places where there are only three flights of stairs.
Earlier this year, I was returning to Bangsar by bus and it stopped at a school.
About 30 schoolchildren boarded the bus and I was shocked at the way they behaved.
A lady seated nearby told them to behave and advised the prefect to discipline them but she remained silent.
The lady then told the schoolchildren that she was recording their misbehaviour on her mobile phone and would send it to the principal of the school.
Only then did they stop their naughtiness.
Malaysians should be instilled with values akin to their Singaporean counterparts.
We definitely can emulate the positive attributes of our neighbours.
Definitely not too difficult if it starts at home and in our schools.
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur