Urbanization – Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the legislative capital of Malaysia and is the largest city in Malaysia. During the colonial era, Kuala Lumpur is served as a trading post for tin mines. After the Malaya Independence, Kuala Lumpur started to grow into a city.
As many other developing cities, Kuala Lumpur undergo a massive urbanization. Thus, many urban problems arise. Immigrant workers are to be brought in from Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam to mention a few to fulfill the labor needs of Kuala Lumpur. These immigrants are mostly working in construction sites and female immigrants are helpful hands in residences as maids. Large portion of immigrants are being promised ‘a good job’ into Malaysia and eventually ended in low-paid jobs or worst, unemployed.
Unemployment is one of the main concerns in many developing countries. There are several causes of unemployment. We look into urban problems as a cause of unemployment. Many people rushed into the city for opportunities, few had succeeded. Therefore, the supply of labors highly overcomes the demand of labors in the city.
Unemployment leads to the increase of crime rates. As I discussed earlier in few of my blogs, street crimes is a big problem in Kuala Lumpur. Mainly the street crimes in Kuala Lumpur are snatch theft and robbery. Why do street crimes happen? They are not able to obtain funds through jobs because of unemployment. Under such circumstances, the only way they could get money is through committing crimes.
Besides that, while urbanization is in progress, there is a high density of population in Kuala Lumpur. Traffic congestion is so common that it is a daily routine for any drivers in Kuala Lumpur. Pollution occurs as a consequence of urbanization. Vehicles emit greenhouse gas, and contribute to noise pollution and air pollution. Looking at the social perspective, less of space means less of freedom, and conflicts tend to break out naturally.
Urbanization is a normal process that many countries undergo in order to develop and to gather and centralize the resources. Government plays a big role in ensuring that urbanization is growing in a harmony process. If one government is either corrupted or incapable, it will only make the matter worst. If implications of urbanization are ignored, it leads to economic and socially downpour. Eventually, it will destabilize the country.
There are a lot of high rise buildings in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia being an Islamic country, the construction of buildings favor a more local and “Islamic” architecture. For examples, Menara Maybank, Dayabumi Complex and Petronas Twin Towers, all portrait an “Islamic” architecture. One of the reasons these buildings were built is to establish a symbol of Malaysia.
So, what is this symbol of Malaysia, is it just merely buildings like Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower? Is it wise to ignore the poor and urban problems in Kuala Lumpur? Construction of these expensive buildings brings opportunities to the rich and displacement to the poor. The rich are able to enjoy the great effects of a high-rise building. They could go shopping in Petronas Twin Towers, they can purchase a office unit in one of these buildings. While the poor didn’t have the chance to enjoy what the rich is enjoying. These high-rise buildings are out of their concern, as they are unable to concern. Jealousy, envious occurs as a product of displacement.
These high rise buildings such as KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers do make us proud and they attracts tourists too which contributes to country revenue. While these symbolic buildings are being constructed, basic infrastructure is still underdeveloped. The public transport in Kuala Lumpur has a utilization rate of only 16%. Besides that, many questioned that is it necessary to construct these buildings while the poor are being marginalized. Slums and irregular housings still exist in Kuala Lumpur although the authorities had tried to wipe them out.
Basically, my argument is that besides establishing a national icon, consequences of urbanization are to be taken care of. Urban problems for example unemployment, rise of crime rates and environmental pollutions should be taken place before building a national symbol. It is not a good thing that a great building is standing in front of you and you are not able to reach it.
National icon is built. Next step would be the elimination of urban problems, I hope so.
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