KUALA LUMPUR – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has called for the bottom-up feedback system to be strengthened to ensure integration and cooperation on policy matters and better coordination of action plans to reduce mismatch between real needs and plans in urban areas.
The Prime Minister said this was important to understand the needs of the various groups of people as Malaysia faces many challenges as a fast-developing nation.
“All these, undoubtedly, require concerted efforts by ministries and agencies at the national, state and local levels to work together to align our policies and strategies to ensure that our future growth will take place in a more responsible, integrated and sustainable manner,” he said.
Muhyiddin was speaking at the Malaysia Urban Forum (MUF) 2020 themed ‘The Transformative Pathway and Actions To Deliver The Sustainable Agenda’ here, today.
He said one of the challenges is the growing population in the urban areas, as 80 percent or 26 million people are expected to reside in the urban areas in 2030, from 77 percent currently.
“With such large population in the cities, we will be even more challenged to provide for the needs of our urban societies – manage the waste generated, overcome increasing traffic problems and air pollution, provide affordable homes, ensure sufficient access to water, uninterrupted power supply, provide quality access to public transportation and telecommunication, as well as overcoming severe flooding in the cities,” he added.
He said Malaysia is also challenged by the change in demographic profile where it will become an ageing society by 2045 with 14 percent of its population will be 65 years old and above.
The Prime Minister said this will bring about new challenges in health service needs and physical environment.
“Hence, our cities and urban environment must be aged and gender-friendly as we prepare ourselves for this change in social profile. It is time we address ageing society in our national development plans and re-look at our planning and physical development in order to meet the needs of the elderly community,” he said.
Muhyiddin said cities should also cater for the needs of the disabled and provide good quality public spaces for communities to gather, strengthen social cohesion and allow cities to highlight their local cultural identity.
“With just 10 years to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we should not only address the challenges and aspirations mentioned, but we need to report and show our action plans, progress and efforts towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in view of the vision for Malaysia to be a Sustainable Urban Nation,” he said.
Hence, Muhyiddin said it was crucial for local leaders, community representatives or local governments and authorities to operate in a more engaging manner as this will lead towards a more effective and efficient management system.
“Local leaders play an increasingly important role here as they are connected directly to the communities and involved in the planning, development and management of cities,” he added.
The prime minister said strong partnership between all levels is also vital, including with the communities, NGOs, professionals, business and the private sector as well as the government machinery.
The private sector plays an important role where they can help in strengthening the local economic growth and providing employment, he said.