KL ranks 32nd in Safe Cities Index 2021


KUCHING: Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, ranks 32nd in the Safe Cities Index 2021 released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The report is based on the fourth iteration of the index that ranks 60 cities across 76 indicators covering digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental security.

Copenhagen ranks first with an overall score of 82.4, followed by Toronto (82.2); Singapore (80.7), Sydney (80.1); Tokyo (80.0); Amsterdam (79.3); Wellington (79.0); Hong Kong (78.6); Melbourne (78.6); and Stockholm (78.0).

In the report, Kuala Lumpur ranks 35th for digital security, 38th for health security, 37th for infrastructure security and 33rd for personal security.

The city also ranks 10th place for environmental security; it scores 81.0 out of 100 points, more than 10 points behind Wellington which scores 91.7 points.

Overall, Kuala Lumpur scores an overall score of 66.6 which is above the average.

The city ranked 35th in 2019.

Meanwhile, the report in its executive summary stated the experience of Covid-19 showed the need for a more holistic approach to health security and its closer integration into urban resilience planning.

“The first is to look at different kinds of diseases and the wider determinants of disease as an interrelated whole rather than considering them in silos.

“The second is to think of populations as a whole, which will especially involve providing effective care for currently marginalised groups.

“The third is to integrate health emergency planning more fully into urban resilience measures that, often, have focused more on dealing with natural disasters and environmental concerns,” the EIU said.

It added that the digital security at the city level was too often insufficient for current needs and insecurity would multiply as urban areas increasingly pursued smart city ambitions.

“Improvement requires rethinking digital security on several levels: cities must see it as an investment, or at least an essential insurance policy, rather than an unproductive cost; they must understand that the nature of the technology requires a city-wide approach rather than one fragmented by departmental silos; and, finally, digital security — and especially protection of smart city networks — needs to involve providing the level of safety that citizens expect and demand.

“Indeed, smart cities need to be built around what urban residents want, or they will fail,” the report said.

EIU stressed that most cities had strong environmental policies and they now must deliver results.

According to the report, it said unlike other pillars, low and middle-income cities often did well on environmental security.

“Bogota, for example, comes fourth overall. One explanation is that good environmental policies are widespread.

“The increased interest in reaching carbon neutrality that has accompanied the pandemic will only strengthen the impetus for still better plans. The challenge, though, remains implementation.

“Here, even higher income cities are lagging noticeably behind their ambitions. As in other areas, the key to success will be to take an overarching approach to environmental issues rather than a fractured one, and for cities to work with residents rather than seeking to direct them,” said the EIU.

The full report can be downloaded at https://safecities.economist.com/safe-cities-2021-whitepaper/.

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