Malaysia has experienced one of the highest rates of urbanisation in Asia. By the first three decades since independence in 1957, Malaysia had already transformed from a mainly rural population to an urban-majority society.
Today more than seventy-five percent of Malaysians live in the country’s towns and cities. This change has bought enormous benefits to the nation and driven the rise of an aspirational middle-class.
However, with the rapid pace of urban transformation, new challenges affecting the development and well-being of citizens continue to surface. Public policy tends to lag behind, even as the forces of globalisation and climate change impact upon the economy and reshape the political ecology of the city. There is a need therefore to bridge the gap between the emerging challenges faced by citizens and public policy making.
This Urban Policy Series is a special initiative by Think City to bring together key thought leaders in addressing the multiple dimensions of urban transformation. These policy notes aim to raise public awareness about specific issues and frame these issues in a manner that stimulates public debate and policy dialogue.

Issue 1: The Demand-Side of Public Service Delivery and the Strengthening of a New Malaysia

In this policy note we provide a framework for understanding the changing landscape of public administration in Malaysia and propose that it is time to re-balance its focus from the supply-side to the demand-side of public service delivery.

Issue 2: Urban Development in Malaysia: Towards a New Systems Paradigm

This policy note addresses the underachievement relative to ambitions, and the underlying causes. Equally important, it outlines the contours of a fresh approach, especially towards the inter-urban balance. We illustrate consequences of the current urban systems thinking, key urban questions, and the need for, as well as prospect of, alternative policy options through a case study of the South Perak urban system. In the middle part of this paper we discuss its current functioning and likely directions of future development.

Issue 3: Reflexivity in the Age of Pandemia: Adaptive Policy Making and the COVID-19 Crisis

The year 2020 will be remembered as the beginning of the Age of Pandemia. A new period in human history when people and nation-states come to the realisation that the risk of pandemic has become structural to our hyperconnected globalised society. Just as the global movement of finance, labour, goods and technology has transformed the planet dramatically over the last century, so have the global disruptions to ecological systems and human consumption patterns heightened the risk of pandemics in our everyday life. The Covid-19 crisis has shocked us to the vulnerability of our global system and the systemic risk posed by highly infectious diseases.

Issue 4: Mapping Vulnerability and Resilience: a Decision Support Tool for Policymakers

This policy paper outlines the application of a GIS (Geographical Information System) multi-criteria analysis to model the relative impacts of Covid-19 to identify vulnerable communities in Malaysia. The model outputs show while the denser urban areas are more likely to experience an outbreak, the peri-urban and remote areas are more vulnerable to the mid- and long-term impacts of the pandemic. This exercise demonstrates the crucial role of data in addressing the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and gaps in developing adaptive response plans and policies.

Issue 5: Suara Penduduk: Isu Berkaitan Pentadbiran dan Pengurusan Perumahan Awam di Malaysia

Laporan ini bertujuan menyelam lebih dalam, mengamati isu-isu berkaitan pentadbiran, pengurusan, serta dinamik komuniti, dengan fokus terhadap perumahan awam kos rendah bertingkat tinggi. Laporan ini mengambil suara penduduk sebagai sumber utama, melalui temubual dan perbincangan kelompok sasaran (focus group discussion, FGD) dengan penduduk kompleks perumahan awam di Lembah Kelang. Ditambah dengan ulasan laporan-laporan dan penulisan-penulisan sedia ada, kertas ini akan memberi gambaran isu-isu yang memberi kesan ke atas komuniti perumahan awam, sambil menunjukkan aspek kajian yang harus diberi keutamaan supaya dasar-dasar dan program-program yang lebih berkesan dapat dihasilkan.