Social cohesion and urban coherence in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur: a tale of two Malay communities of two cities

Singapore as a city-state and Kuala Lumpur as the largest metropolis in Malaysia are both target destinations of Malays from their immediate surroundings or from neighbouring regions. In Singapore, pockets of Malay minority have been diluted by urban housing policies whilst in Kuala Lumpur, pockets of Malay concentration have been accentuated as more Malays move to the cities under the New Economic Policy. Whereas residential segregation in Kuala Lumpur has led to an increased social cohesion but a fragmented metropolis or less urban coherence; desegregation policies in Singapore have resulted in an increased social cohesion but more urban coherence. This paper examines the factors culminating in the paradox of these two cities.

Prof. Lee Boon Thong
Ms. Shariffa Bahyah Bte Syed Ahmad
Nilai University, Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia

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