An environmental activist’s tweets about why Kuala Lumpur is not a liveable city have gone viral recently with many residents in the Klang Valley agreeing with his points.
In the Twitter thread, the advocacy director of Kolektif Iklim, Aidil pointed out that the floods that hit the capital city on Wednesday (26 May) were the first problem KL faced.
“The poor design, planning, and land use of our city drown its people in floods and trap them in traffic congestions. This needs to change. KL must be a safe, sustainable, and resilient city,” he shared.
Aidil also pointed out that this is the third time this year KL was flooded, with the previous floods dated 7 March, 25 April, and 25 May respectively. Despite the frequent flash floods, the authorities have no sense of urgency or declared a climate emergency.
Kuala Lumpur is not a liveable city.— freyr (@notsoaidil) May 25, 2022
The poor design, planning and land use of our city drowns its people in floods and traps them in traffic congestions. This needs to change. Kuala Lumpur must be a safe, sustainable and resilient city. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/gdHbU3mrvY
Worsening traffic congestions
Aidil shared that the recent traffic data showed the congestion in KL has gotten worse than pre-pandemic levels.
“A study done by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) indicated that people living in KL spend about 53 minutes stuck in traffic jams every day,” he said.
The massive congestion comes after more employees begin returning to offices after work-from-home arrangements are slowly being phased out and students are also required to return to school.
Another cause of the congestion is the city’s poor public transport system, contending that Malaysia, like other megacities in Southeast Asia, was designed for private vehicles.
“This makes ‘first-mile and last-mile’ connectivity a major issue for commuters. At the same time, LRT disruptions and crowdedness are becoming frequent too.” he explained.
The ‘first-mile and last-mile’ connectivity refer to the struggle commuters face while getting to a public transport stop from their starting location and getting to their destination after arriving at a public transport stop. Commuters would either have to take a cab to get quick access to the public transport or have to walk a long distance.
Poor city planning
Citing a statement by Kolektif Iklim on 26 April, Aidil said the government should gazette flood retention ponds to prevent the encroachment of development projects that will decrease the city’s water-holding capacity, thus, leading to floods.
“Hence, legal protection for these retention ponds is vital for KL to cope with future scenarios of intense flooding,” it read.
Meanwhile, the group also suggested that government create ‘sponge cities’ by building ecological infrastructure, such as constructed wetlands, as not only does it prevent floods, but it could also reduce the heat island effect in the cities.
Another initiative the government can do is to declare a climate emergency such as Singapore and Bangladesh, which have already done so to protect the future of their nations.
Other factors include deforestation, poor facilities and design of PPR flats and government’s obsession with highways
Do you agree with the points highlighted by Aidil? Share your thoughts!