MALAYSIAN Institute of Economic Research chairman Tan Sri Sulaiman Mahbob recently said, in his column in the New Straits Times, that although there are about 150 local governments in the country, we do not have a strong central training institute to train people in urban management.
It may be timely to set up a government-funded Institute for Urban Governance, Training and Management for better urban management and governance in cities and towns.
The concentration of development and human activities in our cities and towns has enormous implications for the urban population, who find the urban environment physically, psychologically and socially taxing.
Cities are dramatically changing. Our living environments are reshaping the way we live.
This new urban age presents a unique opportunity for us to remake and reinvent our cities.
How well we plan and design our living environments will matter.
The emergence of urban problems has posed new challenges for urban administrators to search for ways to make urban areas better living cities.
Urban issues relating to globalisation, environment problems, poverty, sustainability, governance and how to improve life need to be addressed.
Therefore, an Institute for Urban Governance can function as a national resource and training centre for urban governance and development.
It can facilitate research, provide support to academicians and individuals to undertake research and provide consultancy on urban issues.
The institute can provide support and policy advice to the government in urban govern-
ance, development and management.
The institute, which can be established with the expertise from institutions of higher learning, research organisations and government agencies, will conduct academic programmes in urban planning for local government officials and others to manage cities and towns.
Where new urban centres are built, efforts must be taken to build a sense of community and belonging among residents, which will generate goodwill, togetherness and unity.
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye