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Improving KL's livability

  • The livability of KL and many other cities and towns in the country to a very large extent is related to politics.

Sin Chew Daily

In the most recent livability report published by ECA International, Kuala Lumpur was ranked 126th among the most livable cities for Asian expatriates, down sharply from 25th five years ago.

In a different list by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in August 2017, KL was the tenth most livable city in Asia.

The different surveys and studies may be based on the responses of very different targeted corespondents as well as evaluation criteria, and sure enough the outcome could differ a lot. However, we can still define a city from the scores and ranks based on various parameters used to evaluate the same city in different surveys and studies. For instance, even though KL's ranking has nosedived in ECA's study, the city continues to score well in water/utility and housing cost, making it very attractive to some Asian expatriates.

While the overall ranking of a city in different studies does not necessarily reflect the city's overall performance, the government should strive to identify the root causes of the problems based on the evaluation criteria and category rankings, and draw up plans to improve on where we fall short.

According to ECA International, the major cause for KL's dramatic drop in ranking is the city's poor air quality. KL is facing relatively serious air pollution problem compared to other cities.

Majority of the commuters drive into the city for work on a daily basis, further aggravating the greenhouse effect and environmental pollution.

The government has in recent years expedited the construction of public transport projects, including the LRT extension and MRT in hope of getting more people to leave their cars at home.

According to land public transport commission (SPAD), there has been a 7.5% increase in daily urban rail ridership since the opening of the first MRT line. If such a momentum can be sustained, the improved public transport infrastructure should boost the score of the city in future.

Additionally, KL's poor ranking has also stemmed from the city's relatively high petty crime rate vis-à-vis other cities. Besides enhanced effort on the part of the police to battle crime, urban residents must also do their part to help fight crime.

While it is impossible for a city to be completely crime-free, police responsiveness and the confidence of the public in police efficiency will affect how the public perceive the safety level of a city.

In the ECA report, KL has performed quite well in public amenities and housing supply. That said, there is still room for improvement in the environment and facilities of some low-cost flats, while residents of middle-cost apartments find their surrounding areas overdeveloped, adversely affecting the quality of their living environment.

Where public amenities are concerned, KL is still highly dependent on Selangor. Thanks to political and other factors, the water supply issue in Selangor remains unresolved to this day, and this has affected the quality of water supply, resulting in frequent water rationing.

Generally speaking, the livability of KL and many other cities and towns in the country to a very large extent is related to politics. The management level and cooperation among different levels of governments will leave a mark on the city's operation and development, and a government that puts the people first should be one that places the interests of the people before its own political interests.



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