Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on news you need to know.
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — They first started with a can of spray paint, marking around potholes on the roads of Kuala Lumpur to alert motorists of the hazard.
The group of bikers also swept away sand and loose stones off busy highways to prevent motorcyclists from skidding.
When their leader — actor Azlan Sani Zawawi, 40, or Lando as he prefers to be called — managed to save up some cash, they planted flowers in the pitted surfaces for a more obvious hazard sign.
When his business grew, Lando and his biker friends took to road work themselves, patching up sinkholes and potholes left unattended by Kuala Lumpur City Hall.
“We have been doing this since 2008,” Lando said at his latest patch-up operation in Wangsa Melawati called Jangan Gebang, Turap Lubang (Don’t Pose, Patch the Hole).
“I’ve been blessed to get support from friends and members of the public, who joined in when they learned about what I have been doing.
“Those who come out to help me are usually bikers like myself and so I named our group Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood, comprising bikers from various biker associations.
“The pothole (in Wangsa Melawati) has been there for over five months and is a hazard, especially for motorcyclists.
“Despite numerous complaints, City Hall failed to fix the road, so our group decided to act ourselves.”
After an hour’s work, they managed to level the road in Jalan 2/27a Lingkaran Tengah 2.
The Kuala Lumpur-born businessman spent RM2,500 to hire a lorry and bought tools and materials for the repair work, including two tonnes of tar and gravel.
He said katan Silaturrahim Brotherhood had carried out 30 road repairs around Wangsa Maju, Taman Seri Rampai, Taman Melawati and areas near the KL Convention Centre (KLCC) so far.
Lando said he considered it a service to motorists, especially motorcyclists.
“As a road user, I am concerned with the safety of motorists and motorcyclists driving or riding on roads filled with dangerous potholes,” he said.
“The authorities are slow in their maintenance, often leaving the roads unlevelled and unpatched for months.
“I find their lackadaisical attitude irresponsible, especially when road hazards are serious dangers that could result in fatalities.”
Lando said he had lost two friends and an uncle after they crashed while avoiding road hazards.
Over the years, he has spent close to RM20,000 to hire lorries and buy gravel and tar as well as tools for his initiatives.
Despite rising costs, he said he had never accepted donations.
“I prefer to use my own money. It took some time to save up but I managed to gather the funds by selling T-shirts and merchandises from my business,” he said.
“Those who wish to help can donate their time and effort or hire a lorry with materials that we can use.”
Asked the reason for his services, he said he considered it his personal civic duty.
As a habit, Lando and his friends take note of the roads that require attention.
He also posts pictures of potholes and other road hazards on his Facebook page, “Lando Zawawi DatokBandar KL”.
“I post the pictures to warn people to be careful on those roads. Sometimes, people reach out and suggest places I can work on and they would volunteer to help,” he said.
Lando said as a rule, he limited the number of people who joined him at each road work operation.
“Safety is the No. 1 issue as it is risky patching up the road and relaying traffic at the same time,” he said.
“That is why I carry out the work late at night when there are fewer vehicles.”
Lando’s wife, Nurul Jannah Abdul Halim, 31, often joins him on his excursions that sometimes finish in the wee hours of the morning.
“I am proud of his passion to help others in the way he feels truly beneficial,” she said.
“I am concerned for his safety, that is why I like to tag along.”
Road contractor Mohammad Fadzil Hashim, 22, volunteered after stumbling upon Lando’s Facebook page and hearing about his deeds from friends.
He joined Lando for the first time last Thursday.
“I do this for a living and when I heard about Lando, I was inspired to join him” he said.
“Most people never act and that only adds to the long list of complaints.”