Parks and clean living will bring in talent, say expats

MORE parks instead of shopping malls will help draw more global talent to Greater Kuala Lumpur.

This is the verdict of expatriates interviewed by the New Straits Times.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel Kuala Lumpur general manager Stephen A. Cokkinias said an education system on a par with global education would attract professionals with families to migrate here.

He commended the existing road networks but called for a wider rapid train system from KL to the surrounding nine local authorities that made up Greater KL.

“There is no need for more shopping malls. More parks are needed as well as residential areas with clean air.

“Even recycling must be promoted as a foreigner choosing to stay here wants to know that the city they live in will stay healthy for years to come.”

My Second Home Leisure chief consultant Michele Kok said her clients loved to buy properties near parks or green belts.

“They like areas with security like the condominiums in Mont Kiara.”

Kok works for one of the companies serving participants of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) initiative by the Tourism Ministry.

Kok suggested that for Greater KL to work, there should be a dedicated government agency such as MM2H to address the needs of the expatriates.

“Under MM2H, we act as agents to help foreigners in their dealings with government agencies, as sometimes there is a language barrier resulting in miscommunication which may turn them off,” she said.

One of Kok’s clients, Korean You Yang Hee, 57, said the main reason that attracted her to buy property at Mont Kiara was security.

“I could have chosen to go to Jakarta, Manila or Bangkok, but I chose KL because it is safer. Also, it is cheaper to play golf here, which is my passion. The cost of living is also cheaper.”

However, You, who drives, finds it hard to find her way outside of KL because of ill-placed road signs not written in English.

“Also I find roads in KL and its surrounding areas to be dirty.”

She added that the broadband connection here was slow and unreliable.

Ian Hal, an architect, said KL could be a very frustrating city.

“KL is a low-density area with townships sprawled across it and wasted undeveloped ground lying in between. There are vibrant places like Damansara Utama and Taman Tun Dr Ismail that have nice cafes and shops.

“But because it is spread apart, people have to rely on cars to travel to these places.”

Hal, who uses public transport to travel, said bus stops at non-strategic locations made his life miserable. But Hal, who has travelled to other Asian countries, commended the country’s tolerance and hospitality to foreigners.

Greater KL, a 10-year plan to transform the region into the best place to live, includes 10 local authorities which are about 279,327ha in size. They are Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selayang, Ampang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Klang, Kajang and Sepang.

Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin had recently said Greater KL was targeted to be in the top 20 list in world economic growth and most liveable metropolis by 2020.

Source: NST

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