PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Works Ministry has given its commitment to fix potholes on federal roads within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, as the issue of road maintenance continues to be parodied.
The ministry said that under its Zeropothole Campaign, the patching of potholes or temporary repairs for federal roads will be conducted within 24 hours, while permanent repairs will be done in three days as per the Federal Road Maintenance contract.
The ministry's response followed backlash on the government for alleged double standards in dealing with a Cabinet minister and the public.
Hours after Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin shared on Twitter on Sunday (Dec 27) how he fell after encountering an uneven patch of road while riding his bicycle in Banting, Selangor, the Public Works Department (JKR) swiftly apologised to Mr Khairy on Twitter.
The department fixed the patch of road within 24 hours of the accident, raising public ire that many potholes were not fixed as quickly despite many complaints.
The Works Ministry in a statement on Wednesday said its Zeropothole Campaign that was introduced from 2016 to 2018 was reintroduced in July this year. It said this was an initiative of the ministry with JKR and six concessionaires for federal road maintenance.
"Potholes refer to holes with widths from below 200mm up to 1,000mm. If the width of the hole is below 200mm, it does not involve any cutting, and will be patched.
"When the width of the hole is up to 1,000mm, it will require the part of the road to be cut before it is patched," the ministry said, adding that holes with a width of more than 1,000mm will be treated as "pavement failure".
The ministry added that through Budget 2021, the government had allocated RM100 million (S$32.8 million) for the implementation of "weight in motion" devices on identified federal roads.
Saying that it took the safety of road users seriously, the ministry said the road network in Malaysia is 254,477.563km long.
It had allocated RM1.09 billion for federal road maintenance nationwide, which included settling electricity bills for traffic lights and street lights.
The ministry also added that up to Nov 30, it has received 4,091 complaints under the category of public infrastructure, with 1,473 for damaged roads.
It added that based on JKR's monitoring, the government had detected and fixed almost 200,000 potholes on roads, while for the first half of this year, a total of 64,000 holes had been fixed.