The more cities the better for Malaysia, says academic

07-Sep-2019 Intellasia | FMT | 6:02 AM Print This Post

An academic has called for policies to encourage the building of sustainable cities across Malaysia to bring about overall improvements in healthcare and education.

“Urbanisation is the future of humanity,” said Hew Gill, the head of Sunway University’s Department of Psychology, during a panel discussion on inclusive healthcare and quality education.

He said the costs of services in sparsely populated areas would be higher than in dense cities.

“If you live in a rural community, you’re going to die much quicker and much younger because you can’t get to things like the best healthcare for your heart,” he said.

“Have a heart attack in a rural area and the ambulance ride alone will kill 50 percent of people.

“Have it in the middle of KL and your survival rate is probably about 95 percent because there’s a hospital just around the corner.”

He called for urbanisation programmes that would be sensitive enough to retain local cultures. He acknowledged that this would present tough challenges but said it was the best way forward.

“The city is humanity’s most wonderful invention,” he said. “The evidence is that we invented agriculture to support city dwelling, not the other way around. The city came first and farming came second.”

He noted that the average salary in the Klang Valley is RM4,500 a month against RM2,200 in the rest of Malaysia and said this showed one of the benefits of living in an urban environment.

Hew said the country’s economic future depended on its ability to be inventive and creative.

He said western investors were moving their manufacturing and service businesses back to their own shores since the cost advantage of operating in Malaysia was quickly fading.

He said academic education and vocational education held equal importance in most societies because one would teach thinking and the other would teach the application of thinking.

He pointed out that James Watt was often wrongly credited with inventing the steam engine, whereas he developed someone else’s invention.

“He was well trained and was educated in languages. So he developed the steam engine because he knew how to think. And that means being creative.”

The Malaysian Employers Federation recently said the country was ill-prepared for Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) and warned that Malaysia would no longer be competitive unless it embraced it quickly.

A recent study by a research firm found that many urban youths in Malaysia could not adequately describe IR 4.0.


Category: Malaysia

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