IPOH: A study will be conducted on how to improve and make Ipoh a happier city, says Datuk Rumaizi Baharin.
The Ipoh mayor said a consultant from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman has been hired to find out how things can be improved.
He said the city's development of infrastructure and economy have vastly improved but city folk were still not satisfied for reasons unknown.
"Our infrastructures and economy have improved a lot and we now also have 5G network coverage.
"The people's satisfaction level is still low compared to other cities. We are also scratching our heads," he said in a press conference after chairing the city council full board meeting on Thursday (March 30).
"We have continued to get a five-star rating in the Local Authorities Star Rating System but our happiness index is low," he said.
"We have given the consultant six months to prepare a report," he added.
Rumaizi was commenting on the recent Top 10 Happiest Cities in Malaysia for 2022 that was held in Putrajaya last month in conjunction with the World Happiness Day which falls on March 20 every year.
The 10 cities are Kluang, Petaling Jaya, Manjung, Gua Musang, Klang, Kulai, Krai, Kuantan, Rompin and Alor Gajah.
He said Ipoh had never made it into the top 10 spot.
"I think to make it into the top 10 spot, you need to get a score of at least 98%.
"Ipoh has scored 88%, which saw a 7% improvement from 2021 and could still be considered as a happy city," he said, adding that Manjung scored about 99% and was still in the seventh or eighth spot.
"I think we are within the 30s range," he added.
Rumaizi said he believes that among the factors for the people's unhappiness included issues related to the road condition, domestic waste collection and cost of living.
"We often see these issues on social media.
"And within our internal discussions, we also felt that a mismatch in employment could also be a factor," he said, adding that through its job interviews, they have come across jobseekers who have degrees but were working in factories.
"As for the cost of living, it is something that is beyond our control as it involves the global market," he added.
Rumaizi said one way to address the cost of living issue was to increase people's earnings.
"We need to create more opportunities for the people.
"The average salary for Ipoh folk is about RM2,000. We will try to double it within five years' time so that with more earning, we can address the issue," he said.