- The Functioning of Town Planning within a dynamic socio-economic Environment - The Malaysian Perspective    click here to open paper content679 kb
by    Mohd Kassim, Hamdan | pjpbdns@sukns.gov.my   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The discussion attempts to demonstrate the usefulness of town planning in facilitating nation building not only as a regulatory instrument but also to evolve practically within a changing environment - politically, socially and economically.
Parallel Session 4 : Marketplace

Title : The Functioning of Town Planning Within A Dynamic Sosio -
Economic Environment – The Malaysian Perspective

The awareness of formal town planning principles in Malaysia, or Malaya then, started in the late 19th Century British Colonial era. The economy was somewhat rudimentary largely based on agrarian and other extraction of natural resources. Hence towns grew and functioned as trading centres for such commodities. They were planned, consciously or otherwise, out of basic sanitary needs. In the later years more towns were formally planned, the larger ones like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Ipoh and also several so-called ‘military’ towns but smaller in size physically and socially. These towns were environmentally pleasant with ‘livability’ obviously well thought out. Town planning was very much ‘house-keeping’ then.

However a dramatic change happened during post-independence (1957) Malaysia when the economy was transformed and became more urbanized due to external influences. Existing towns expanded and new one built to cope with rising demand. Over the years this new found dynamism in the urban economy has resulted in imbalanced development socially, physically and economically. The western region with a highly developed urban economy has begun to attract migrants from the less-developed primarily resources-based eastern region which later led to the disintegration of towns and villages.

The New Economic Policy, basically a social-engineering strategy, was formulated to address this issue. Achievements were made towards these objectives together with remarkable growth rates. The era of the borderless world of the 1990s posed a new dimension of challenges requiring a refocusing of efforts in the form of the National Development Policy to further consolidate efforts and achievements made earlier. The era also formed the watershed in the quest towards a developed nation status by the year 2020 guided by the VISION 2020. Spectacular and mega projects were planned and implemented in enhancing competitive edge within the globalised economy. Cities like Kuala Lumpur and its conurbation are the catalyst within the well-planned and sustainable growth.

How does the Planning Profession contributes in this nation building?. The profession contributed prominently. In 1976 the Town Planning Act was enacted to regulate and guide development through statutory Development Plans. The Act went through a number of improvements the latest was in 2001 which further enhanced and consolidated the planning machinery and tools notably among these are the formation of a high-powered National Physical Planning Council and the formulation of the National Physical Plan in 2005. Thus the planning Road Map to 2020 is well laid-out for a clear vision of the future.
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