(File pix) A dirty hotel rooms.

LAST week, my family and I took advantage of the Raya holidays to take some time out and go on our own holiday. A troop of 54 people of various ages from my vast extended family descended upon a well-known resort in Port Dickson.

Among us were senior citizens, older adults, young adults, children and even a couple of babies.

It was to be a three-day two-night holiday with lots of activities, dances, performances, tele-matches and other family bonding activities.

We arrived at our venue at 12.30pm in time to partake a prepared buffet lunch. They were running on full occupancy from the night before, so we were told that we could only get our rooms at 3pm.

However, by the time we eventually got all our rooms, it was closer to 4.30pm. That was the first disturbing sign that all was not well with the place.

As soon as we walked into the place, we began to notice signs of neglect. The resort had been allowed to run down gradually and was now in a state of mild disrepair.

To cut a long story short, the next three days were filled with various complaints from our group. The water heater was not working, the air-conditioner wasn’t functioning well, the sink in the bathroom wouldn’t empty out, the shower partition glass actually fell right off, etc. etc.

The rooms were dirty and dusty. It was obvious that the place had not been properly cleaned out after the previous occupant left. They had swept and mopped the place, but they were merely moving dirt around from one spot to the other.

No amount of scolding elicited any response from members of the staff. I figured they must have gotten used to being scolded and yelled at by their guests. These incidences must be a daily occurrence.

Why do Malaysian lack the maintenance culture so much? We build nice structures and buildings and within a few short years, these buildings fall into such a terrible state of repair. We are no longer surprised when we hear incidences of ceilings falling down, water pipes bursting inside walls and causing untold damage and roofs flying off buildings during a storm. Sadly, we have come to expect these things as the norm.

Complacency has set in everywhere. I see it in many places. People are no longer proud of themselves or the properties they work at. They don’t care. Or they adopt the attitude that “this is not my job. Let someone else take care of it”.

We can continue to build world-class structures. But if we are not prepared to adopt a world-class maintenance mentality, these structures will not continue to be world-class for long.

Malaysians need to wake up to the fact that a building is not going to maintain itself. Taking the attitude of “just in time” repair is not going to work. Neither is the attitude of fixing something only if it’s broken. We need to understand that a world-class maintenance culture will require planning, a rigid inspection and maintenance schedule as well as timely repair and replacement, sometimes even before any repair is actually required.

And keeping your premises clean must surely be of utmost importance in this world-class maintenance culture.

Come on Malaysia, it’s time to wake up.

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