THE statement to the media by urban planning expert Shuhana Shamsuddin that, apart from the wrath of Mother Nature, which was one of the reasons for the recent flash floods in Kuala Lumpur, the design of the city has not managed to save her from drowning.
This statement requires serious reflection by Malaysians on the fundamentals of the operations of our local governments across the country in terms of vision, philosophy, administrative competence and governance accountability.
The urban design advocate said it was time the government started to take concerted efforts to prevent town centers from future flash flooding seriously, rather than allowing the current haphazard development that disregards the disaster.
“What is happening now is that there is no coordination between developers, architects and local development councils in the country.
“If you look at how urban planning is done now, they’re all working in silos – there’s no communication between these few neighborhoods – so they end up unknowingly endangering their environment,” Shuhana told a news outlet. daily in an interview.
Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh also said low-income people in Kuala Lumpur have been put at risk when a housing development project sits on land originally marked as retention ponds.
The statement by the urban planning expert and MP for Segambut not only reveals the administrative and ecological aspects of the floods, it also reveals the current underlying weakness in local government governance where it serves a materialistic ideology, instead of building ecologically sustainable and humanly compassionate cities.
What is evident is that the key fundamental aspects of governance in local government need to be revived, made accountable and mandated through local government elections.
Holding local government level elections would force local government politicians to compete and formulate a better vision for cities with proper designs and structure for implementation and accountability that are clearly lacking in current local government. .
Therefore, the Association for Community and Dialogue urges political parties that are against local elections to come to their senses and revive the local foundations of governance.
Unless there is an enlightened philosophy of governance in addition to administrative and structural reforms, we would end up becoming the laughingstock of the world where we cannot even get the basics of good governance in our cities.
Ronald Benjamin is Secretary, Association for Community and Dialogue