The vision for ‘Kuala Lumpur - A World Class City’, encapsulates the ambition of Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (KLSP2020) to make Kuala Lumpur a city that will assume a major global and sub-global role for the benefits of all its communities, workers, visitors and investors. The KLSP emphasizes that the vision and goals of Kuala Lumpur has been formulated with the aims of creating a sustainable city with City Hall ensuring that the planning for Kuala Lumpur will strike a balance between physical, economic, social and environmental development. It may appear logical to expect that only one large centre would have emerged in a small country like Peninsular Malaysia while other centres would have declined. However, Malaysia is fortunate in that a strong urban hierarchy had already been developed over many years in the colonial and post-colonial eras and this hierarchy, with strong local groups of entrepreneurs, continues to provide a sustainable geographical base for further industrialisation and economic modernisation.
A pattern of polycentric interdependent urban centres has emerged with the Kuala Lumpur conurbation being the ‘advanced’ city supported by the George Town and Johor Bahru conurbations. Rapid globalisation, progression in science and technology and the need to capitalise on knowledge-based economy requires the country to have a strong foundation in order to be competitive with other nations. In this context, the direction of development has to be planned and managed systematically and comprehensively to induce the country’s capacity to compete globally. The urban sector is an important catalyst towards national economic growth and a vital investment centre for the nation. Good urban governance is characterized by sustainability, subsidiarity, equity, efficiency, transparency and accountability, civic engagement and citizenship, and security.
Many challenges faces the city of Kuala Lumpur in this new millennium, transformation of Kuala Lumpur into a world class city and sustainability city will certainly involve concerted efforts by all parties involved. In line with this, the importance of governance and good governance is eminent in administration of developing city like Kuala Lumpur. The task to turn Kuala Lumpur to be amongst the world cities is certainly a difficult one and there are series of programmes and initiatives that has to be carried out by City Hall Kuala Lumpur, being the city manager. As described above, city competitiveness is harnessed through ‘city marketing and city management’. Both strategies are achievable through the process of good governance which integrates all sectors including public, private and other social organisations. In city marketing, a city promotes its buildings, physical infrastructure and development to enhance its image. Good urban governance is also fundamental issue in development. High technology and high skilled industries, together with finance, transportation, tourism, business, information and professional services shopping and other commercial activities, are the principal components of the nation’s economy, which must be developed to a level well beyond where it is now. In this respect, Kuala Lumpur being the premier city must play the leading role.