To what extend the above criteria and indicators really described the position of cities in underdeveloped and developing economies? It is the intention of the paper to deal with such a question, with particular reference to the city of Kuala Lumpur. Although Kuala Lumpur has substantially part of the international economy for the past three decades, it was argued that the city exercises little of the global or even regional control functions that world cities proposes. For this reason, the authors argued that Kuala Lumpur and possibly other cities in the rapidly developing economies be positioned in a different setting, and with different criteria and indicators, as compared to the existing global cities. Regional disparity has long been recognized in Malaysian development scenario, particularly between the more-developed western region and the less-developed eastern and northern regions in Peninsular Malaysia.
All the Five Year Malaysia Plans, starting from the Third Malaysia Plan (1976-1980) have placed special emphasis on the objectives and strategies of regional development. However in the decade of nineties, in conjunction with globalisation era, the direction of Malaysian development plans have been changed, towards becoming more competitive in the global economy. To some extend after 30 years, the issue of regional disparity is remains unsolved, and yet new emphasis on global competition has been dominated in development strategies and plans. However, analysing from the current achievement of national development, the position of Kuala Lumpur in the global cities network still unsignificant, reflecting the uneffectiveness of the strategies toward strengthening Malaysian competitivenes in global era.
Malaysian's Development Vision, particularly toward achieving the status of developed country in the year 2020. Affirmative action as a policy response to ethnic riots is a fairly unusual, indeed unfashionable, policy response, partly because inequality and conflict have a complex and much debated relationship. General vertical income inequality, measured as the gap between poor and rich, has not been found to have a statistically significant relationship with the onset of civil unrest or conflict (Collier & Hoeffler, 2000; Fearon & Laitin, 2003). And yet, an accumulating body of evidence suggests that horizontal inequality, inequalities between identity or ascriptive groups on the multiple and inter-related planes of the political, the socio-economic, and the cultural, may be politically explosive (Stewart, 2001).
These links between ethnicity, inequality and conflict among ethnic groups using a multidimensional approach, with a view to identifying those policies which might work in other situations of ethnic conflict. Taking Malaysia as the model for my research, I investigate and measure to what extent inequalities between ascriptive groups have fallen in that country between 1970 and 2000, a period during which various affirmative action policies were applied in fields ranging from education and government employment to business. Horizontal inequality in the key indicator of income is re-assessed. In addition, changes in access by ethnic group to educational opportunities; the distribution of employment by sector and by occupation; urbanisation and housing distribuition; ownership of household assets such as houses and cars; and infant, toddler and maternal mortality rates are all considered individually, while a multi-dimensional index of socio-economic inequality is subsequently constructed for comparison purposes.