KUALA LUMPUR: It was reported in the media recently that the benches, walls and toilets at several MRT stations had been vandalised within days after the RM20 billion Kajang-Sungai Buloh MRT line started operations on July 17.
This news comes as no surprise to many Malaysians. It is just a reflection of how far the third class mentality has taken deep root in certain segments of society in a country that boasts of first class infrastructure and marches towards a high-income nation.
Acts of vandalism have been reported time and again causing huge losses for the nation and great inconvenience for the public. The perpetrators have been chastised but there is nothing to stop their destructive behaviour.
Also, many of the perpetrators feel the trail of destruction they leave behind as being a “work of art” but for the others it is an eyesore and totally irresponsible behaviour.
Like the authorities who are at their wits end in putting a stop to vandalism, many Malaysians have given up on these vandals.
Vandalism is not limited to destroying, stealing or damaging public property. Vandalism is also not committed by individuals alone, as even organisations or businesses can be culprits.
The illegal money lenders or Ah Longs who paste their business stickers all over town are also vandals.
If vandals do not damage or deface bus stops, lamp posts, playgrounds and recreational areas, post boxes etc, the Ah Longs will.
Even your mild mannered neighbours could well turn out to be vandals, albeit inadvertently.
Many of the residents turn into accidental vandals with their unkept lawns turning into a mini jungles, poorly maintained garden ponds and flower pots turning into mosquito breeding grounds and the household pets pooping freely all over the neighbourhood, annoying the neighbours.
And hardcore vandals can be found in high rises. Hence, the lifts are broken most of the time, it rains rubbish on the ground floors, occupants turn up the volume past midnight and almost every other amenity is broken or damaged, and rubbish is strewn in the corridors and common areas.
The government has been spending a huge sum in developing and maintaining the public housing scheme for the poor, unfortunately vandalism is most prevalent here.
Going back to the vandalism at the MRT stations, the authorities and party managing the premises should take stern action on anyone caught vandalising public properties. It will serve as a deterrence for potential vandals in the future.
Vandalism cannot be allowed to continue as thousands of people will be using the MRT daily.
MRT Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp), the company managing the MRT line, is said to have installed 6,018 CCTVs along the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) alignment and facilities and it is heartening to know efforts are under way to track down the vandals.
Under Section 425 of the Penal Code, stern action can be taken against vandals, including being jailed for up to three months if found guilty.
The perpetrators should also be made to clean up the mess they leave behind or repair the damage they have caused.
Bernama is the national news agency.
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