Of nuclear energy and Malaysia’s lack of maintenance

Posted on July 20, 2010. Filed under: Energy |

-TheMalaysianInsider-Hafidz Baharom

Let’s start by stating my stance on our government wanting a nuclear power plant in Malaysia: I am against it. Not because I don’t trust nuclear energy, but more because I have this disturbing ability to recall that maintenance is not part of Malaysian culture.

Additionally, I’m also see opposition politicians making dumb statements about the location of the nuclear plant and that worries me.

Putrajaya is a hole in Selangor, your very own opposition state, you dimwits! You don’t think an exploding nuclear reactor in that area is going to affect your governance as well?

Honestly, you guys were better off suggesting it be built in Labuan.

Take a look at KTM, the public toilets, the government-built stalls, or even housing projects if you must. Maintenance and public works have never been something Malaysians from either side of the political divide can be proud of.

For example, our supposedly new court complex located in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur. The media first highlighted cracks in the walls in May 2007. In the same month, parts of the ceiling panels came down due to what then-Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu called “… as a contractor ‘failing to fix lights to the concrete structure’.”

And recently in June 2010, water from a burst pipe finally caused the ceiling to collapse and the cafeteria to be flooded.

Of course, Samy Vellu wasn’t even sought after for an opinion. Because, truth be told, when the roof caved in, and the truth came out, Samy Vellu didn’t know what to do.

But if he gets elected again and becomes a star, we’ll be living so large he’d probably do anything for you.

I’m sorry, I’m paraphrasing Jason DeRulo.

Folks, we are seeing a nation whose development is limited by its own incompetence.

We have a stadium roof in Gong Badak which collapsed on June 2, 2009.

Our leaders cannot even gather to discuss national policy without a roof leaking during heavy rainfall. And even then, one MP decided that the debate on the 10th Malaysia Plan (RMK10) was the perfect opportunity to point out that a stall in the men’s room has been out of order for the past two weeks before his speech, and that another stall had water running for the same amount of time without anything being done.

And then, there’s the tale of the cat and the Royal Staircase. Apparently there’s this Royal Staircase only the King and Queen are able to use. This is covered with plastic, not to keep it well maintained. It’s because a cat apparently has decided that the stairwell makes a perfect place for a faeces collection.

I literally cannot make that shit up.

One would think that by now, someone (read: Perkasa) in Parliament would have asked that the cat be shot or put into the ISA for insulting the King.

Imagine this if you can. Our Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM) has actually placed Samsung LCD televisions in all its intercity coaches. One would think such a move would be a delightful upgrade for those taking the night train to Singapore while having to sit down for about 10 hours.

Hold on to your physically challenging coach seats.

There is actually a piece of paper on the LCD screen telling you that it can’t be turned on due to “technical difficulties”.

So instead of maintaining the coach with reupholstered seats, or perhaps giving people more comfortable seats which would have made a delayed 10-hour trip by train to Singapore more relaxing, you now have to deal with the fact that you’ll be staring at an LCD screen with a white piece of paper telling you that you can’t see anything on it and still have to deal with your crappy seats.

And the sad fact is that Malaysians have noticed this and are basically avoiding the tangible costs of improving our maintenance culture.

For example, let’s take Johor and Singapore. If you have noticed, MPs from Johor are asking for an MRT link to be built from Singapore to Johor Baru.

Now, if you pay close attention to the sentence above, you’d have noticed one point.

We are asking the Singaporeans to build a link to Johor Baru, instead of actually proposing that KTM build a Komuter link all the way to Singapore.

And, for once, no one kicked up a fuss about how we’re allowing Singaporeans into the nation, an instance we saw when Pak Lah kicked off the Iskandar Malaysia project.

Funny how nobody’s patriotic about public transport in that sense, isn’t it?

And even if you must build it, please hire the South Koreans to run it. Preferably by non-suicidal television drama actors and actresses, if you can.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

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