Saturday, 10 January 2015

WHEN YOU CANNOT SOLVE ORGANISATIONAL AND PEOPLE PROBLEMS THROW A MOBILE APP AT THEM

My neighbours and I have been complaining to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and even the councillors over several issues in Petaling Jaya, such as the massive and prolonged disruption and damage caused by the laying of the Petaling Jaya North Sewer by contractor Mangkubumi, potholes, the unevenness and bumpiness of roads but the councillors seem almost paralysed by something more powerful than them, which could be the intransigence or inertia lower down their organisation.

Whilst the Petaling Jaya North Sewer is a project of the Federal Government which is under the Barisan Nasional, so the Selangor state government and MBPJ are limited in what they can do, I cannot accept that as an excuse to not being able to do more about it, especially when the works result in damage to surrounding houses and when land matters are a state jurisdiction.

As for the potholes, bumpy roads and so forth, this is something which the MBPJ can do much more about about.


For example my fellow Petaling Jaya resident David is really exasperated after having banged his head against the MBPJ wall for so long without results.

On Mon, 2015-01-05 at 01:41 +0800, David wrote:

All those in this mailing list except for MB Azmin Ali and YB Ean Yong would have had received my photo story which targeted the way Maxis has NO RESPECT for road conditions and laughed at my captions on my DIG-I CAN photos. They would also have had been privy to my berating MBPJ for the holey Jalan Timur and Jalan Gasing. More recently, I brought to their attention the metal stumps which stick out of roads and curbs when the original poles are removed. All of us reading this must surely be aware of how atrocious I find the conditions around the old-Sentosa redevelopment project.

And now, to add to the list, I am just making a passing mention of the pathetic attitude of MBPJ and the developer of the project along Jalan 19/1 opposite the junction of the road coming down from Sea Park.

Yes, there is not very much that these people don't know about.

But do they care? Do they know their job?
I guess if the print media were to promise them a photo of attendance at some site visits, somebody will speak up.

But will there be action?
No, our rate payers have been systematically and maliciously conditioned to religiously believe that our elected and appointed representatives are meant to be holding brooms and tearing down posters and patching potholes and posing for media photographers.

And our elected and appointed representatives are playing to the tune. they have to. For political points. For election points.

For all my ranting, plus the hell fire and brimstone rained on our reps by other rate payers, I would have had expected our reps to wisen up. I would have expected them to drop their tools for the streets but take their flame thrower to MBPJ. I would have expected them to be managing people - to send down the lightning and thunder on people like the Mayor (thank God we do not have the last one with us now) and her full time employee-team in MBPJ.

Woe behold, it seems to me that there is a major and critical communication gap or fear in this respect.

Half a century of experience, even though it may have been Barisan controlled for much of the time, has taught me to be very pessimistic about a positive change in the system.

So do brace yourself for more bumpy rides, what with more lands in our-once-upon-a-time-sustainable-city being disintegrated by relentless, irrational and irresponsible redevelopment.

DAVID

David had replied to my earlier e-mail to the MBPJ councillors, the Selangor state Chief Minister and the Selangor exco for local government, also posted on my Selangor Scheiss blog.

Over the years, such potholes have contributed to greater wear and tear on my car's suspension, thus requiring more frequent repair.

It was like this when the Barisan Nasional controlled the Selangor State Assembly and remains the same, if not actually worse in the nearly seven years Selangor has been under Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) rule. Basically, the song remains the same, to paraphrase that Led Zeppelin song.


Initiatives like this MyCleanCity app which relies on information technology, hoping to improve the quality of service of organisations without first dealing with inherent problems within the organisations is one of the very reasons why I go by the psuedonym "IT.Scheiss" because this is exactly what this is - IT scheiss (shit in German).

This is like putting more computers with educational software into schools expecting that they will reverse the decline in our education system, rather than address the root causes of the problem within the education system itself.

"C4 director Cynthia Gabriel said the objective of the app was not so much about pot holes, or getting illegal dumping resolved but about improving accountability in local government."

I see. so down to earth matters that immediately concern us residents are "not the objective of the app" but more highfalutin stuff about "accountability in local government".

“It’s about knowing as ratepayers, to get our urban services sorted out.

“The point is for us to start sharing our own problems online using technology, smartphones, to start filing complaints via this app and website.”

This plebeian with an A in English in my Malaysian Certificate of Education (O Levels) does not quite get that highfalutin stuff Cynthia is going on about, though I can somewhat make out that that it is about everything except getting practical action and actual results.

Look! If a letter, telephone call, e-mail or fax will not work to get action, believe me - a mobile app will not either.

Dealing with such matters needs a big stick to whip civil servants into compliance or purge the recalcitrant ones from the organisation, not some mobile app, web portal, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp group or whatever.

"Prayut gives civil servants three months to show results"

"Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said he would give civil servants three months to deliver work results as per government policy and those found to be slacking would be "dealt with".

Now that is the kind of stand which gets results.


Meanwhile, columnist R. Nadeswaran of The Sun criticised the misplaced priorities and false expectations with regards this MyCleanCity app, as reported by The Malaysian Insider in the article below.

IT.Scheiss

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MyCleanCity app will only work if councils embrace change, says columnist

The use of mobile apps to push forward public complaints to local councils will not work if the mindset of council leaders remains unchanged, theSun columnist R. Nadeswaran told a forum last night.

Nadeswaran, known for his column “Citizen Nades” in the local daily, hailed the effort by Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) in launching the MyCleanCity app but stressed that there was a need for a mindset change at the leadership level to ensure that changes were embraced.

“Unless there is mindset change, nothing is going to happen,” he said, as one of the speakers at the forum “Terrain-ing transparency and advancing accountability in local government” in Petaling Jaya last night.

One of the examples, he said was in 2006, when the Sultan of Selangor called Petaling Jaya, one of Selangor’s oldest city, “billboard city”, but the rebuke was ignored by the council.

“The problem is that nobody cared. No one is scared, they are not afraid of losing their jobs and they don’t care if you take disciplinary action against them.”

Thus, Nadeswaran said, in order for things to work, the mindset change must come from the leadership level of the council itself, not from C4 or the people.

Earlier, Selangor exco for local government, Ean Yong Hian Wah (pic) launched the MyCleanCity app, a pilot project in Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) that would function as a tool to help local councils to respond more swiftly as well as be more transparent and accountable.

The smartphone and web-based app allows Petaling Jaya residents to snap photos, tag locations and upload pictures into a virtual noticeboard.

Another speaker, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said it was not really about the app but the process of how to open up spaces of accountability and transparency at the local government level.

“For democracy to work, it’s really about the people and the participation, the system can be perfect, but without the people having access to decision-making, it is pointless,” he said during his presentation of BetterPenang app, which allows the public to lodge complaints to local council in three simple steps – snap, tag and post.

He also gave the example of Waze, GPS-based geographical navigation application involving the largest community-based traffic report, with live updates on what’s happening on the roads.

“Waze is crowd-source content, crowd source content is participation, and participation is democracy in a way, to simply put it.”

He added that the MyCleanCity app should be seen as alternative and in addition to what the council had been doing.

All Petaling Jaya Residents Association (APAC) president Johan Tung Abdullah said MBPJ and its politically appointed councillors had not lived up to their promises.

“Many see it as their failure to deliver transparency, proper enforcement of existing rules, and accountability,” he said, raising issues such as illegal advertisements by loan sharks and below par road maintenance works.

“Those in power must adopt more proactive measures to deliver more transparency and accountability,” Johan said, highlighting the importance of local council elections, seat allocations to professionals and six-month assessments on councillors.

“All councillors must be made to attend courses on the roles and duties of city councillors as well as to possess working knowledge of the Local Government Act.

“Those voted into power must make the difference for positive changes.”

C4 director Cynthia Gabriel said the objective of the app was not so much about pot holes, or getting illegal dumping resolved but about improving accountability in local government.

“It’s about knowing as ratepayers, to get our urban services sorted out.

“The point is for us to start sharing our own problems online using technology, smartphones, to start filing complaints via this app and website.”

MBPJ officer Lee Lih Shyan who was present as speaker said C4 has set up a good platform on building the app and he believed both MBPJ and residents could benefit from it.

Residents who attended the forum said it was also vital to address policy issues to avoid the app from being neglected. – January 10, 2015.





Sunday, 4 January 2015

Re: Pot holes and bumpy roads in Petaling Jaya

Dear Councillors of the MBPJ,


My car ran over a pothole with a big bang whilst turning left into Jalan Utara at the top of the exit ramp from the Federal Highway adjacent to Menara Axis.

The stretch of road along Persiaran PP Narayanan after you turn left from Jalan 14.48 is terribly uneven and dangerous.

A stretch of road on Jalan Templer is also similarly bumpy and uneven.

If the DBKL can make utility companies hire its approved contractors to resurface roads after they have dug it up, why can't MBPJ do the same for us?

Also, why not coordinate these telecoms and utility companies to do all the work they need to do at each location at the same time and save us residents the misery of having to put up with roadworks after road works?

Petaling Jaya has become a glorified middle class slum of late.

Do you have the courage to take the bull by its horns or will it be business as usual?

===============================================================

DBKL to hire its own contractors to avoid shoddy road repairs

UTILITY companies are no longer allowed to hire their own contractors to dig roads and patch it up after laying underground cables in Kuala Lumpur as their work is shoddy.

The task of hiring contractors for the job now falls under the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the ministry had received many complaints on potholes appearing on the patched- up stretches of road in the capital city.

He added that the utility companies had been awarding contracts to unscrupulous contractors who were not resurfacing the roads properly after installing the cables, which had caused potholes to appear later.

“Sometimes the contractors even dumped cement into the drains.

“The utility companies now will have to refer to mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib who will appoint contractors for them,” he said during a press conference after flagging off DBKL’s Humanitarian Aid team to Kuala Krai, Kelantan at Menara DBKL 1 yesterday.

A City Hall source said it had stopped issuing work permits to utility companies for the past two weeks.

He said a meeting was held with the utility companies last week and they were told that representatives from the companies would have to be present during roadworks.

“We will cancel the work permit if we find there are no supervisors at the site when our enforcement officers and technical engineers go for their rounds to monitor the projects,” he said.

Tengku Adnan also said that they would also be relooking at DBKL’s own contractors who were appointed through tenders to perform maintenance work on city roads.

“Some of them are not doing the work they were hired to do. We will look into assigning contractors for certain areas and they will become our eyes in the area. We know Jakarta in Indonesia is using this method,” he said.

On the humanitarian aid, Tengku Adnan said they had sent 120 DBKL staff with 40 vehicles including lorries, water tankers and mobile offices to help in the cleaning works in Kelantan.

He said DBKL has also sent a mobile clinic and ambulances with the team. “After that, they will communicate with the National Security Committee for further instructions.

“We will also set up a collection fund, which will be launched next week, to collect money for flood aftermath needs such as cleaning, addressing health issues and rebuilding the areas that were flooded,” he said, adding they had sent 40 to 50 tonnes of supplies to the flood victims so far.

Meanwhile, on the flash floods occurring in Jalan Ipoh, Ahmad Phesal said they would remove the rocks from Sungai Gombak to help alleviate the rising waters.

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2015/01/03/No-more-bad-patchup-jobs-FT-Minister-says-DBKL-to-hire-its-own-contractors-to-avoid-shoddy-road-repa/


====================================================================

"IT.Scheiss"
Section 14
Petaling Jaya



On Sat, 2015-01-03 at 11:47 +0800, David KC Foo wrote:
Dear councilors of PJ,
(and especially residents of Section 10 and those going to Catholic High School)


Some claim that there is a silver lining in every cloud.

For PJ, perhaps the recent tragic misfortune of our east cost countrymen has complimented us with a little time favour. 


The weather may have, sadly and unfairly, impeded CWM and Mangkubumi in their open air works which involves partitioning off numerous roads in the city. Hence, to date, we still have some roads in the vicinity of public schools substantially narrowed down.

In view of the stark realities of traffic associated with the beginning school years, it is my humble opinion that all works on roads around and leading to public schools be stopped for two weeks from 12th January 2015. All holes must be covered up temporarily and all hoardings to narrow these roads should be removed not later than 10th January 2015 so as to enable the full availability of these roads.


I am making this call with a view to enhancing safety of those going to schools and work site people and facilities. This call is also to facilitate traffic and mobility and minimize wastage of time and fuel (which translates into foreign exchange losses).

Can we please make this happen in the next seven days?


Best regards


David