KUALA LUMPUR: Melaka, Kuala Terengganu and Seremban have been recognised among Malaysia’s 10 happiest cities in 2019 in conjunction with the International Day of Happiness 2020, which falls on March 20 every year.
Also on the list are Bentong, Kuantan, Jasin, Kulai, Taiping, Jeli and Yan, which were selected as the happiest cities through the 2019 National Happiness Index Study conducted by the Urban and Rural Planning Department.
The study involved two cities within the city-level local authority administration area, six cities in the municipal-level local authority area and two other cities in the district council-level local authority area.
The recognition as the happiest city in 2019 is a follow-up to the 2019 Sustainable City Award declared in November 2019 in conjunction with World City Planning Day 2019 by the department.
Director-general Datuk Mohd Anuar Maidin said the 2019 Malaysian Happiness Index Study had recorded the overall happiness of the nation as having achieved 80.4%.
He said the measurement of the Happiness Index in Malaysia was conducted through the Malaysian Urban Rural National Indicators Network for Sustainable Development, known as Murninets.
Murninets is a tool to measure and evaluate the sustainability level of a local authority’s area under the supervision by the department.
The happiness index is a general measure of the welfare level of the population, including mental and physical health and well-being.
“It is one of the indicators in Murninets under the ‘Dimensions in Community Well-Being’ that has been used to identify the level of happiness and well-being of Malaysians since 2013, ” Anuar told Bernama Thursday (June 4).
The Happiness Index is assessed through a population-based questionnaire that covers 14 key aspects including life and health; residential area security and public facilities; basic infrastructure provided; happiness with family and relatives; and pleasure in working,
“Other aspects taken into account are financial management; relationships with neighbours; community activities; services of local authorities; and local leaders and environmental quality, ” he said.
Anuar said as many as 106 local authorities participated in the survey, including local authorities in peninsular Malaysia, the Federal Territories (of Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Labuan), Sabah (Kota Kinabalu City Hall and Kudat Town Board) and Sarawak (Sibu Municipal Council and Kota Samarahan Municipal Council).
“A total of 36,000 questionnaires were distributed in all the local authorities involved. Of these, as many as 69 cities or 65% achieved 80% happiness or more while 37 cities or 35% recored moderate happiness (between 50% to 79.9%), ” he said.
Anuar added that it is clear some of the key factors contributing to this level of happiness are closely related to the level and quality of services provided by local authorities such as environmental hygiene, solid waste management and effective and regular garbage collection.