Survey finds Malaysia among safest Asian nations

PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur is ahead of cities such as Dubai, Beijing, Istanbul, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Manila in a global survey of safe cities.

According to the Safe Cities Index 2021 conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the federal capital emerged 32nd out of 60 major cities.

This time, Kuala Lumpur had an overall score of 66.6.

This is just above average, against the 66.3 in 2019 when it finished in 35th position.

Copenhagen came out tops.

It was followed by Toronto, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Wellington, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Stockholm.

The Safe Cities Index is a global, policy bench-marking tool developed to measure urban safety by 76 distinct factors across five broad pillars of personal, infrastructure, health, digital and environmental security.

Kuala Lumpur scored 81 for environmental security, infrastructure (69), health (64), personal (60.1) and digital security (59.1). The Safe Cities Index was launched in 2015 with 44 indicators and 50 cities.

Since then, the index has been updated once every two years, increasing city coverage as well as strengthening the framework to include emerging challenges to urban safety.

The EIU said this year, the framework was further updated to reflect the dynamic nature of the urban safety landscape with a special focus on the Covid-19 pandemic impact.

“Within each of the five broad pillars, the relevant indicators are grouped into inputs of safety, such as policies or personnel dedicated to some aspect of security and outputs, anything from air pollution levels to crime rates.

“In short, outputs measure how safe a city currently is, while the inputs indicate which cities are doing the right things to enhance security.

“Both are essential to understanding the security situation,” it said.

The EIU said the experience of Covid-19 showed the need for a more holistic approach to health security and its closer integration into urban resilience planning.

“It is still too early to draw detailed conclusions on the implications of Covid-19 for health security.

“The pandemic continues at the time of writing.

“Even were it over, robust, internationally comparable data on what has happened is still rare.

“Nonetheless, the need to rethink health system preparedness is already clear,” it said.

Digital security at the city level, the EIU said, was often insufficient for current needs and insecurity would multiply as urban areas increasingly pursue smart city ambitions.

The index data also showed that Internet connectivity was becoming ubiquitous, even in lower middle-income cities.

It said although 59 of the 60 cities had started the process of becoming a smart city or the ambition of becoming one, the current levels of digital security was worrying.

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