Mayors’ woes the same everywhere

KUALA Lumpur has a lot to share with other Asian and African cities. 

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Malaysia resident representative Dr Richard Leete said people tended to look at the smaller picture instead of the promising aspects the city could offer. 

“Sometimes Kuala Lumpur comes under the microscope and people look at micro issues and say there are huge problems.  

“That sort of thing happens in every city in the world, including New York,” he said after launching an Africa-Asia Eco Partnership (AAEP) Inter-Regional South-South Policy Dialogue on Environmentally Sustainable Urban Societies at Impiana KLCC Hotel and Spa, Kuala Lumpur. 

“If you take Kuala Lumpur and compare it with other Asian and African cities, Kuala Lumpur works. We have very good development indicators in the health and socio-economic spheres. 

“We are sharing these practices on how to provide good services to city communities around the world. Malaysia has a lot to share,” he said. 

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ruslin Hasan said the city still lacked many things in comparison with other major cities but he was satisfied with some of the good practices like squatter resettlement schemes carried out by the authorities. 

“We have been trying very hard to build the city and many practices have already been laid by us,” he said. 

He added that about 40,000 families had been relocated to low- and medium-cost public flats, of which some were equipped with three bedrooms and Internet and car park facilities. 

The two-day AAEP dialogue, he said, was a platform for city administrators from other countries to learn and share their experiences in managing their city problems. 

“The problems faced by mayors of the cities of the world are almost the same but the approach and methodology are different because it depends on the people, culture, political set-up and expectations,” he said. 

Citing an example of the benefits of the dialogue, Tanzania's Dar Es Salaam Mayor Adam Omar Kimbisa said delegates from Llala town in Dar Es Salaam, who had serious discussions with companies on building low-cost housing in the town, were now in high gear and ready to implement the project. 

Jointly organised by UNDP AAEP and City Hall, the event was attended by participants from Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Japan, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia.  

The event provided a platform for participants to explore South-South partnership opportunities and gather funding, political and policy support in municipal development efforts.  

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