SIBU: The Alliance of Safety Community (Ikatan) is calling for the setting up of a government-funded institute of urban governance.
The chairman of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye says this is because the emergence of a host of complex urban problems has posed new challenges for urban administrators to search for new ways of making urban-living better.
“Urban issues relating to the process of globalisation, environmental problems, urban poverty, urban sustainability, the issue of urban governance and how to improve the quality of urban life, are among many
that need to be addressed effectively.
“With such complex issues arising from urbanisation, it is time for the government to set up an Institute of urban governance, which can function as a national resource and training centre for urban governance and development,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
Lee said the proposed institute would facilitate research activities, enable support to academicians and individuals wanting to undertake research works, and also provide consultancy on urban issues.
Moreover, he said it could also provide support and policy advice to the government in matters relating to urban governance, development and management.
“Urbanisation should lead to community spirit-building. Where new urban centres are built, pro-active efforts must be taken to build a sense of community and belonging among the multi-ethnic residents, which will be beneficial to our multiracial country in terms of generating goodwill, togetherness and unity.”
Lee pointed out that as Malaysia had set out to ‘become more and more urbanised’, it should be the responsibility of the government to ensure that the benefits of urbanisation would be shared equitably and that no one would be left behind.
“Policies to manage urban growth need to ensure access to infrastructure and social services for all, focusing on the needs of the urban poor and other vulnerable groups for housing, transportation, education, healthcare, decent work and safe environment.
“Cities, as we know them today, are already dramatically changing. Our living environments are reshaping the way we live.
“This new ‘urban age’ presents a unique opportunity for us to remake and reinvent our cities.
“How well we plan and design our living environments will matter,” Lee added.