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Opinion

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

Change begins with person in the mirror

DURING the campaigning period for the 13th general election, my area, Serdang in Selangor, suffered one of the biggest floods in its history. The cause? Culverts that were overgrown with weeds, which delayed the dispersal of flood water from the low-lying areas.

Basically, our local government employees hadn’t been doing their job. They were inundated by calls from our community and within an hour, workers were toiling around the clock to clean up the culverts they should have been maintaining in the first place.

Many factors can cause an easily preventable flood like the one folks in Penang and Kedah experienced recently.

Culverts overgrown with weeds; rubbish thrown in waterways and on roads that are then washed into the waterways, clogging them; land development with no proper drainage system in place; and many more.

So basically no party is free of guilt, but let’s talk about what we as a community should be doing.

The earth needs vegetation to be able to stop the heavy runoff from a torrid downpour. Look around your home; are there trees and grass around you or are you living in a concrete pile with no sign of earth? Renovating your home might be your prerogative but your choices will eventually affect everyone, including you.

Do you know who your MP and local representatives are? Can they be contacted? Have you kept track of their progress or are you turning a blind eye to their inaction simply because you want their party to win GE14? Have you read through your state’s audit report to understand which areas are under state or federal funding? Do you know how your state funds are used?

A community cannot function if you do not actively participate in its transformation. You need to be aware of every single development, report problems, track the progress of these reports, ensure accountability and make sure you practise what you preach. Look at how residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail in Kuala Lumpur as a community are taking City Hall KL to task to save Taman Rimba Kiara. That is how a community should function.

That would also mean you don’t give excuses such as “everyone also does that”. Nor should you litter, bribe or break rules whenever it is more convenient for you to do so.

Call your municipal council when there’s a pothole; call TNB when there’s a blackout; call the water department when there’s a broken pipe. Be a responsible member of the community; don’t wait for someone else to do it.

Change begins with the man in the mirror. Nothing will change if we don’t change first.

VISITHRA MANIKAM

Petaling Jaya