On a mission to patch up potholes of Malaysia

By THE STAR | 21 December 2016

Lando (centre, in chequered shirt) filling in a pothole with members of the Brotherhood.

PETALING JAYA: For the past 10 years, a group of Good Samaritans have been filling up and repairing potholes around the country.

Come rain or shine, the Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood have been going at it every single day.

It started in 2007 when the group's founder Azlan Sani Zawawi, or better known by his moniker Lando, lost a friend in a mishap due to a pothole in Kuala Kubu Baru.

"When I returned to the accident site two weeks later, I was angry to find that that it was still not repaired," said the 41-year-old film producer.

Soon after, accompanied by his wife, he started marking potholes using flowers to warn road users of the danger.

When he had enough funds, he started filling the holes.

He was joined by hundreds of Malaysians and the group, better known as the Brotherhood, is now active in nine states and 71 districts nationwide.

"Most of our members are those living from hand to mouth but they join in because they use these dangerous roads daily," said Lando, who has lost nine loved ones in mishaps caused by poor road conditions.

A typical day for the group starts with patrols where they would mark potholes and give authorities three days before they go in to do the job.

"If we end up doing it, it means that authorities have failed to do so in a timely manner and have failed our challenge," he said.

They use their own brand of high-emulsion cold mix tar, dubbed the Brotherhood Tar, which Lando developed with a tar company.

Every week, they go on at least one ops, which can cost between RM70 and RM3,500 each time, depending on the repairs needed.

Lando still refuses to take donations or organise fundraisers to keep the group afloat, and continues to foot all expenses by selling Brotherhood T-shirts, stickers, and tar.

"My wife and I planned to start our family this year but we have to postpone it because this work takes up a lot of my expenses," said Lando, who has been married for five years.

Lando claimed errant contractors had also taken credit for their work to claim the cost for road repairs from local councils, with some even going as far as to vandalise the repaired potholes.

To date, he has spent some RM100,000 to repair hundreds of roads from Klang Valley to Johor.

"If it's up to me, I would like to stop the ops immediately, if we continue, it means the system has failed or someone is not doing his job," he said.