KUALA LUMPUR: A new study shows that by 2030, Malaysia will be as urbanised as today’s Canada and the United States.
The report by the Martin Prosperity Institute, housed at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, also says that Kuala Lumpur will have a population of almost 10 million by 2030.
The study examines the intersection of urbanisation and the rise of the middle class, or what it calls the “new creative” class, in Southeast Asia.
The report notes that Southeast Asia is at the centre of significant economic transformation and rapid urbanisation, and that by 2030, Southeast Asia’s urban population will swell by an estimated 100 million people, growing from 280 million people today to 373 million people.
However, it says, the level of economic development across the region and its cities is highly uneven.
It says: “By 2030, Malaysia is projected to have an urban share of more than 80%, similar to the current level or urbanisation in Canada and the United States.”
Saying that Southeast Asian nations fall into four tiers of economic development, the report puts Malaysia on the second tier, together with the Philippines.
“The creative class makes up a quarter of Malaysia’s workforce and a fifth of that of the Philippines, approaching the levels of advanced nations.
“They rank among the top 50 or so of the world’s nations both in terms of their share of creative class workers and their performance on the global creativity index.
“Malaysia has a level of economic output per capita (US$9,748 or RM43,393) which places it among the world’s “upper-middle income” nations. Roughly three-quarters of its population is urbanised, not far off from that of the United States and other advanced nations.”
The report says Singapore occupies the first tier.
“Singapore generates US$51,149 in economic output per person, making it one of the richest and most developed nations in the world — ahead of Canada and the United States.”
Thailand and Vietnam are placed in the third tier of development, while Indonesia and Cambodia occupy the fourth tier.
Saying Southeast Asia’s cities and metros reflect the region’s tiered development pattern, the report places Singapore on the top tier.
“It ranks as the fourth most advanced global city in the world behind only New York, London and Tokyo and one of the most prosperous and advanced cities on the planet, ranking just below New York City with more than US$66,000 in economic output per capita, greater than Tokyo, Toronto, Seoul and Hong Kong.”
Kuala Lumpur, the report says, occupies the second tier with economic output per capita of US$28,000, considerably greater than either Shanghai or Beijing.
“With US$172 million in total economic output, it generates more than half of Malaysia’s GDP and is a bigger economy than Stuttgart or Stockholm.”