A tale of two MRTs

mrt-malaysia-singaporeBy TK Chua

It is sad to read of vandalism in our new MRT stations. As reported, the total damage was more than RM10,000, in addition to the inconvenience caused.

It wasn’t just vandalism. We also read of passengers misbehaving while on the train – eating, drinking and allowing their young children to “run wild”.

All these are happening even while the MRT is still new and shinning. I shudder to think what might happen a few years down the road.

What happened to our MRT was unfortunate, but it also reminded me of an incident on the Singapore MRT where a woman was fined S$30 (RM94) for taking a sweet to relieve her motion sickness.

Eating and drinking on the Singapore MRT carries a maximum fine of S$500. In this case, there was compassion shown although some would still argue that the authority there was too “heartless” to the woman who took the sweet out of necessity.

In many ways, Malaysia is at a crossroad today. Sometimes I can’t even figure out the “Malaysian way” any more. We are more like one of those typical third world chaotic countries, if you know what I mean.

I think we are in serious need of keeping deviant behaviour in check. We are in serious need of compelling our people to behave. Just look at the number of bullying cases in schools. Is this not to some extent a reflection of their parents?

We see children misbehaving everywhere: in malls, cars (children sticking their heads out of sunroofs or putting their hands out of windows), schools and now on the MRT. And when mishaps happen, we blame others and the government.

I think we need diligent and relentless enforcement to compel behavioural change. We need to install cameras at strategic places to discourage deviant behaviour. Use common sense; please install the cameras high up beyond the reach of vandals.

The key is diligent and relentless enforcement, not enforcement in dribs and drabs or whenever we can spare the manpower.

Those caught vandalising and misbehaving on the MRT must be punished accordingly. In Singapore, they cane those who vandalise public properties. I am not suggesting that. I suggest we ask them to do community service on the MRT – cleaning and picking up garbage at MRT stations and on trains.

I suggest we do strict enforcement on the MRT starting from now, when it is still new. Instil in all passengers a clear message – “they must behave or else”.

TK Chua is an FMT reader

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