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The Main Problem with Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the largest city in Malaysia with a population of around 1.6 million people. With the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower dominating its skyline, Kuala Lumpur is a city that all Malaysians should be proud of.

Located in a huge valley known as the Klang valley, which explains the flash floods and mud slides, Kuala Lumpur is rich in terms of both natural elements (moutains and trees) and urban elements (high rise buildings).

Minus the blazing temperature we endure in the day, the snatch thieves, and construction noise, Kuala Lumpur is paradise!

Yeah, right….

The Real Problem!


In Kuala Lumpur, nothing gets on your nerves more than traffic jams and rude drivers (they come together, buy one free one)! The reason? Our transportation system is an utter failure!

The main way to travel from one destination to another in Kuala Lumpur is by driving. While the entire city is well connected with highways and bridges, the planning and design of Kuala Lumpur’s road network betrays third-class management.

  1. Roads that were initially three-laned becomes two lanes in a blink of an eye.
  2. Places that drivers can make U-turns are not specified (resulting in people doing U-turns everywhere, including on top of road dividers, I had a personal experience in a rented taxi).
  3. Last minute road signs cause you to turn into the wrong junctions (not to mention road signs block by trees and other obstacles)
  4. Bottlenecks are everywhere! There are places where even four or five roads converge into the main road.
  5. The list goes on! You name some!

Compounding the traffic problem is Kuala Lumpur’s public transport system. To say that Malaysia lacks a public transport system is a lie. In fact, we have an overload of companies in the industry! We have a variety of transport modes from buses, rails and taxis. The rail system alone has the RapidKL Rail, KL Monorail and the KTM Komuter not to mention the Star and Putra LRT rails.

The problem in Kuala Lumpur is not the lack of a public transportation system. The real problem is the planning and management of the system! Many of the LRT stations are located in the middle of no where (some stations make losses). To add to that, bus stops are everywhere (except where they should be)! Overhead bridges on the other hand are build at wrong locations and poorly maintained.

All in all, there is no incentive for Malaysians to use public transport (except to escape burning fuel). While this might not have been such a serious problem in the past, Kuala Lumpur’s booming population is now exceeding the maximum capacity of our road networks.

We need to correct this flaw in Kuala Lumpur! This time around, plan first and build later! A city isn’t built out of Lego that can be dismantled and rebuilt at will! Prevention is better than cure!

While Malaysians love Kuala Lumpur, I am not so sure that our transportation system loves us!

  1. August 13, 2010 at 8:15 am

    The traffic in Kuala Lumpur could have been better if the road operators and the Government use a bit of common sense. There are simple measures which can be implemented to improve road congestions in various roads in KL. Take for example, LDP and NKVE, the two roads that I am using on daily basis to and back from work. The signages placed on these roads are useless. It does not help anything to have a signage saying that the traffic is slow when you are already caught in the traffic jam and unable to turn to any other roads. Operators of this roads, or the municipal council or public road department, should think twice in placing the road signages. The real objective of having traffic signages is to help motorist to travel faster. Hence, signages should be placed in a location where motorists are able to choose the roads which are less congested. For those coming from Bandar Utama travelling on LDP for example, it would be great to have a signage infront of Damansara Utama showing traffic status of NKVE and LDP. This would enable motorist to avoid LDP and turn to NKVE if LDP is experiencing unusual delays in its traffic; and vice versa. This is a simple measure, which would greatly assist the motorists to decide which road to take to avoid congestion. I find it hard to believe that Plus highway and the LDP operator cannot think of simple measure like this to improve traffic flows in KL.

  2. March 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

    This is what can be expected when hiring cows to do man work.

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