Potholes have been in the news lately since Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin was injured after hitting one while cycling.
The Public Works Department (PWD) then apologized for the condition of the road in Jalan Kampung, Sri Cheeding, Banting.
This led social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who is also the chairman of the Safe Community Association, to question the double standards of PWD, only to apologize when someone with influence has been injured.
He then suggested that the government form a special squad to look for potholes and other road problems in order to avoid similar accidents.
But behind the scenes we have had an existing cadre that has been doing this since 2007, and they are not even supported by the government.
They are known as the Brotherhood
Most of the members themselves have had accidents from falling into potholes / Photo credit: Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood
The brotherhood is a volunteer group founded 14 years ago by producer, director and activist Lando Zawawi.
As a driver, he avoided potholes and found that many who drove behind him faced the same danger themselves. He shared that the knowledge didn't feel good at all and that he wanted to do something about it.
"I have lost many friends and know many more who have lost loved ones to poor road conditions, including potholes. I repaired potholes because I knew it was easy to do," he told Vulcan Post.
It's a feeling shared by many members of the group who look for potholes, mark them with spray paint, and present reports to authorities.
If the authorities don't fix or fix these potholes within three days, the group will fix them themselves. However, this restoration is intended as a temporary repair until the authorities themselves properly tare the roads.
The cost of repairs can cost the group between RM 20 and 70 per pothole, depending on the size of the hole. Members use their own income to finance tools and materials such as bauxite and bitumen to repair the roads.
Since most of them have day jobs, they perform their operations at night and set up safety cones and blinkers to divert traffic.
Each patch-up requires a 3-person team on a county road, while highways require 15 members. In total, the group has at least 10,500 members in 54 teams in each state.
What do the authorities say?
The team and some bad potholes they repaired / Photo credit: Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood
The brotherhood has many names, some may know it as the Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood. The group also calls themselves Rebel Road Fixers.
Lando told the Vulcan Post that the reason for this title was because the potholes were being repaired without government approval.
He also confirmed that there were legal issues related to the Brotherhood's efforts. But after some arguments with city councilors in the past, he's tired of thinking about what the authorities could do with them.
"You need to understand that all of the Brotherhood's pothole paving and road marking operations are carried out because our complaints to government officials go unattended. Some of them are also taking an extremely long time to correct the problem," Lando told Vulcan Post.
Recently, many Internet users were confused by a picture Lando posted on his public profile, in which he received an award from the Mayor of KL on January 11th.
Lando presents the mayor of KL with an award / Picture credits: Lando Zawawi
Many congratulated the Brotherhood on their final approval by the authorities for their efforts to make the city's streets safer.
However, Lando told Vulcan Post that this award was actually given to DBKL by The Brotherhood for being the 2020 Best Improved and Most Responsive Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan (PBT).
These efforts are part of the Brotherhood's campaign to educate the public about road safety. Some of their previous campaigns were aimed at the public to educate motorists about safe driving and driving.
Another was in collaboration with the Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) to highlight the legal aspects of a road user. It covers topics such as paying vehicle tax and renewing your own license.
As the Brotherhood leads by example, Lando hopes their efforts will encourage authorities to act faster and more efficiently and address road problems.
He also encouraged the public to submit written complaints to the relevant authorities, rather than just verbal complaints about potholes in their area.
- You can learn more about the Brotherhood here.
- You can read other startups we've written here.
Selected image source: Lando Zawawi, founder of the brotherhood