Municipal services that we do

It seems to be the norm these days for municipal councils to elicit the help of residents in undertaking some of their duties. For example, residents associations set up the gated and guarded features of their respective communities. They also engage in driving or biking around their neighbourhoods to help in crime prevention.

All this is great, but, sometimes municipal councils take it a bit too far in getting residents’ cooperation in maintaining the cleanliness and security of neighbourhoods. In many neighbourhoods, the responsibility of cleanliness falls on the residents. Yes, municipal councils provide the garbage pickup service on the scheduled days.

But, when it comes to garden refuse or other types of garbage like old mattresses or furniture to discard, people are at a loss as to what to do. In those bygone days, we would just leave such items outside and the garbage trucks would pick them up. But, these days, they don’t.

Instead, residents are told to call the municipal council to get a special service to remove such discards. And, that may take days or weeks! Until then, the garbage remains outside our homes, a sore sight to all.

Isn’t it the responsibility of the municipal councils to provide the service without us having to call them to come?

Where garden refuse is concerned, we are told to chop trimmed tree branches into small pieces and tightly packed into garbage bags and left outside. Which I did but for weeks there was no pickup. And, these days the garbage cleaning folks don’t pick up anything other than bags of kitchen refuse!

Then, one day, a couple of weeks later, a lorry came by and the bags were finally picked up. When I complained about it, I was told that there are numbers to call for the quick pickup of non-kitchen refuse. When I asked for the numbers they said they were put up at the park!

I went by the park and, sure enough, there was a board with a list of all the numbers to call to get rid of your rubbish! But, frankly, is it our job to call these contractors and get them to come to our homes to pick up our rubbish? Shouldn’t that service be provided by the municipal councils on a regular basis?

If we have to call for the service, then, it means the municipal councils are not doing their job. An effective municipal council is one which anticipates the needs of the residents and delivers the service to meet those needs.

It is because municipal council personnel don’t do their jobs that alternatives are found, but those alternatives are an inconvenience to the residents.

To stop thefts in Subang Jaya, many back alleys are closed with locked grills at both ends with only the residents of that street having the keys to the locks. As a result, the back alleys are rarely cleaned up. Once in a while, some folks will come by to cut the grass and trim the over-grown trees. Until then they are left unattended, attracting cats, squirrels and rats to run wild.

The front public drains, too, are never cleaned up because some owners have covered up their sections of the drains and municipal workers won’t go under the drain covers or remove them to clean up clogged drains. Even when they are called to clean up the drains, they won’t clean up the parts under the covers or the driveways.

Seriously?! I pay taxes to put up with these inconveniences? The standard of municipal services needs to be improved. Municipal workers may be used to taking things easy. They need to be retrained about what is expected of them and provided with all the facilities and support to deliver services without slacking. People have higher expectations of them and they need to serve without being an inconvenience to residents.

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