Government banks on intensive urbanisation to pull investment

KUALA LUMPUR, August 16 — The Housing and Local Government Minister said that the government aims to develop four “conurbations” in the next five years to attract investment and increase global competitiveness, in line with the 2nd National Physical Plan (NPP).

The four conurbations — Kuala Lumpur, George Town, Johor Bahru and Kuantan — will act as focal points for foreign and domestic investment, given that 75 per cent of peninsular Malaysia’s population are expected to live in urban areas by 2020.

This strategy of “concentrated decentralisation” will be supported by Melaka and Ipoh, as well as respective state capitals.

“It will cover Greater KL to maybe Negeri Sembilan in time to come,” said Datuk Chor Chee Heung.

It is understood that the Kuala Lumpur conurbation, stretching from Kuala Kubu Bharu to Port Dickson, will encompass an area of 5,000 square km and a population of 10.37 million by 2020.

The Georgetown conurbation will be the second largest, covering 1,500 square km and 2.42 million people, followed by Johor Bahru (1,200 square km, 2.40 million people) and Kuantan (750 square km, 1.38 million people).

Chor added that his ministry was willing to help Sabah and Sarawak, which are governed by separate planning ordinances, to come up with their own physical plans if they so wished.

At the same time, the Alor Setar MP revealed that the government plans to gazette more public open spaces in urban areas to ensure the well-being of the people.

“The best ratio... is two hectares of public open space per 1,000 urban dwellers,” he explained.

“At the moment, Malaysia only averages 1.19 hectares per 1,000 residents. That means we’re still a bit short.”

He said only three states had exceeded the 2.0 hectares per 1,000 population target — Terengganu (2.32), Pahang (4.31) and Putrajaya (30.40).

Chor added that Kuala Lumpur, which has a higher than average public open space ratio (1.41), might not be able to reach the ideal ratio due to its high population density.

Malaysia has set aside 19,386.69 hectares of open public space for the whole country but needs another 13,231.71 hectares to reach the desired 2.0 national average ratio.

The states with the poorest open space to population ratios are Pulau Pinang (0.46), Kelantan (0.54), Selangor (0.59) and Melaka (0.60).



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