Why life in KL lacks quality

Tian-Chua-klPETALING JAYA: Batu MP Tian Chua has urged Putrajaya to look carefully at how Kuala Lumpur is being run if it wants the quality of life in the city to improve.

His call follows Deutsche Bank’s “Mapping the World’s Prices 2017” study on the quality of life, which placed Kuala Lumpur as the second worst place in a comparison of 47 cities around the world.

Speaking to FMT, Chua said one reason for the poor quality of life in the city was that the city’s mayor was not an elected official.

“We have a system where we put in civil servants who are nearly retired to run the mayor’s office,” he said.

“This person is put in a very awkward situation. He cannot be his own boss. He is nearing the end of his retirement and so you can’t expect him to offer much in terms of vision for the city.”

He noted that in a few Asian countries, the mayorship of the capital city was just one step away from the top leadership of the country.

“Whether it’s Taiwan, Jakarta or Bangkok, or even in communist countries, if you do well as a mayor, you will probably end up replacing the country’s top leader in the future.”

He alleged that there was no avenue through which citizens could give their input on how the city should be run.

“Ninety percent of the seats in Kuala Lumpur belong to the opposition. Yet, the elected representatives are not consulted in any way when it comes to running and upgrading the city.

“How then do you expect the views of the citizens in Kuala Lumpur to be reflected?”

Chua, who is a PKR vice-president, also said the physical development of the city was being carried out with apparently no direction in sight.

“The developers use their political connections to make more and more money and that’s all they think about.

“They’re not thinking about improving the quality of life in Kuala Lumpur. We see malls after malls, condominiums after condominiums, but where are our theatres? Where are our art centres? Where are our parks and greenery? It’s no surprise that we are moving backwards in terms of urban development.”

The survey result showed that Kuala Lumpur had fallen 14 places in the ladder of 47 cities and was now below Mumbai and Jakarta. KL took the last spot in terms of climate, was placed 43rd in terms of safety, 39th in terms of healthcare and 38th in terms of pollution.

New Zealand’s Wellington was the top city in the index, with Edinburgh (Scotland) coming in second and Vienna (Austria) third. The last spot went to Manila.

The survey took into account purchasing power, pollution, house-price-to-income ratio, cost of living, safety, healthcare, traffic commute time and climate.