Why are Singaporeans behaving badly in Malaysia?

Since the 1950s, Kuala Lumpur has developed into an industrial center. This led to strong growth in the city. Since the 1980s in particular, economic developments have led to strong urbanization processes and thus to a great rural-urban migration through the new jobs in the city. Since the 1980s, there has also been a sharp increase in the number of foreign labor migrants. This led to a sharp increase in the population. Today more than half of the residents are immigrants. The majority of them are Chinese. Since 1950, the population of the agglomeration of Kuala Lumpur has increased nearly thirty-fold through natural growth and immigration from rural areas. In 2017, Kuala Lumpur had 1.8 million residents. A population of over 10 million is forecast for 2035.

The need for infrastructure such as roads, energy and water supply, housing and the like increased and with it the pressure on the city administrations to solve these problems and to create enough infrastructure.

Kuala Lumpur is now Malaysia's largest city, with a population of 52% Chinese, 39% Malay and 6% Indian. There are also Arabs, Sri Lankans, Europeans, Indonesians and Filipinos.

The progress is clearly visible: numerous new buildings, the construction of banks, hotels and shopping centers are increasingly shaping the cityscape. However, attention is also paid to recreational opportunities, because despite the modernization there are many green spaces in the cityscape (Haenlein, 1995, p. 125/126).

Nevertheless, there are also negative sides and problems. The current problems of urban development in Kuala Lumpur are discussed below and possible solutions are shown. The main urban development problems in Kuala Lumpur are in the areas of housing, traffic and pollution.


As in many other large cities, the housing market in Kuala Lumpur is very tense. The scarce living space and rising rental prices hit the poorer part of the population particularly hard. The reasons for this include a high natural increase in the population, the regional shift in the settlement structure and the growing gap between disposable income and rental prices. In addition, the city is growing steadily and building land is becoming increasingly scarce. In addition, the price of building materials continues to rise and the requirements for new buildings are becoming more and more stringent.

As a result, the available living space is becoming less and less and real estate prices are rising. This can lead to homelessness, especially among the lower-earning population, and so-called squatter settlements (informal settlements) often form in large cities.

An attempt was made to take the pressure off the inner city through decentralization. Thus, all new plans were relocated to the surrounding area by city planners. As in Singapore, so-called New Towns emerged. The seat of government is now in Putrajaya, 35 km outside. The airport and industrial district were also built a bit outside. Thus, the living space in the surrounding area should be made more attractive.


Another big problem is the traffic that is caused by the high number of commuters, especially in the city center. This often leads to traffic jams and air pollution from the exhaust gases. The greatest challenge is to get people from the surrounding area to their workplaces in the city center. As a result, the core city is particularly heavily polluted, as the facilities that are connected to a lot of traffic such as hotels, shopping centers and offices are also concentrated in the core zone. Another reason for this is the inadequate expansion of local public transport: a public rail-bound local transport network is only just beginning to be available, the different systems are hardly interlinked and the routes, which are still too short, are insufficient for the growing needs of the two-million city. In order to counteract this, the light rail system is to be further expanded and further rail projects are also being planned, which will also connect the New Towns in the surrounding area with the city center.

The car-dominated city is to become more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly in the future. New sidewalks and a digitally supported bike rental system for the first time are to be created in order to avoid emissions.

Most of the air pollution is caused by urban traffic (92%). Industrial and automobile exhaust fumes are practically not monitored. In addition, the wind blows in an east-west direction at night and turns during the day. This means that all exhaust gases are carried back into the city.

Environmental pollution:
Urban pollution also creates major problems. Many wastewater (households, but also factories) is not treated or only treated in the first stage (3-4 stages are normal) and then discharged into rivers. There are now strict government guidelines in the area of ​​water supply and disposal. In addition, the River of Life project was launched with a value of US $ 1.1 billion. This served to cleanse and beautify the Klang River and its waterfront in Kuala Lumpur.

Another big problem in Kuala Lumpur is garbage. There is a lack of landfill and waste separation was hardly practiced until 2016. Often old tin mines are used as landfills. However, these are mostly located in the urban area, which can pollute the groundwater.