KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 (Bernama) -- The government will ensure an overall approach is taken in the policy making as a way forward for urbanisation in Malaysia.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was to ensure a sustainable urbanisation for the benefit of future generations which would become the citizens, managers, employers and policy makers.
"It is too easy to forget that the urban problems that prevail today are a result of our inadequacies of yesterday and the only way to address prevailing urban issues is to act without delay today for a better tomorrow.
"If we want change for the better, we have to make them ourselves by not repeating mistakes of the past," he said at the closing ceremony of the 9th World Urban Forum (WUF9) here, today.
The text of his speech was read by Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar. Also present were UN Habitat Executive Director Datuk Maimunah Mohd Shariff.
Thus, Ahmad Zahid said the government was committed to enforce and implement the policies, strategies and action plans in Malaysia's Development Policies and growth plans with the right government support of finance, coordination, manpower and machinery.
He said the government would also ensure the voices of the people were listened to and partnerships developed to have more effective actions and desired outcomes for the good of all.
In addition, he said, Malaysia would prioritise on urban issues and climate change without compromising on rural equality, social cohesion and economic growth in all sectors.
Malaysia will also strive to ensure that national public policies, urban, as well as regional plans, help to support economic growth while protecting natural and agricultural land use, he said.
"Malaysia will not be neglecting the rural areas even though the focus will be on cities and urban issues. The urban and the rural are increasingly inter-connected, rural areas have become places of consumption as leisure and recreation have become important functions of rural areas," he said.
He said there were also indications that increased urbanisation could even lead to a stronger appreciation of green areas situated far beyond city limits.
Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia already had its economic planning and the national physical development, as well as the urban development frameworks, that supported sustainable development, growth and management of the cities.
"To implement the strategies and programmes, we are strengthening the role of the local government as the third tier of government machinery, so that they are innovative, efficient and capable of collaborating and partnering with the community, the private sector as well as with organisations from other countries," he added.
Visualising Malaysia in 2030, he said among others, the population would have reached about 36 million, the urbanisation rate would have increased to 80 per cent, the GDP at RM2.6 trillion, GDP per capita of more than RM117,000 and world trade would have exceeded US$44 trillion.
WUF9 is being held from Feb 7 until 13. WUF is a non-legislative technical forum convened by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) since 2002.
It is recognised as the foremost global arena for interaction among policymakers, local government leaders, non-governmental organisations and expert practitioners in the field of sustainable urban development and human settlements.