Survey shows Penang is the happiest state

lafargehappinessSo it’s true — Klang Valley folks are less happy living in the city compared with those living in Penang and Johor Bahru. That is according to TheEdgeProperty.com-Lafarge Happiness in the City Index 2017 survey.

The survey showed that as many as 49% of respondents in the Klang Valley found city life merely “tolerable” while another 9% and 3% were unhappy and very unhappy, respectively.

That’s hardly surprising, but what will probably make us sit up more is that only 3% of Penang and Johor Bahru respondents were unhappy/very unhappy living in their respective cities.

Penang seems to have gotten the happiness formula right as 47% of respondents from the state said they were very happy while another 30% said they were happy. As for Johor Bahru, about 24% of respondents from there were very happy and 37% were happy.

Why are Penang and Johor Bahru folks so much happier than those in the Klang Valley?

Could it be something in the air? Or could it be that they are living in a less stressful environment?

TheEdgeProperty.com-Lafarge Happiness in the City Index 2017 survey found that 54% of Klang Valley respondents felt stressed out living in the city compared with only 7% and 17% Penang and Johor Bahru respondents, respectively.

“Generally, people living in urban areas especially big cities such as Kuala Lumpur face a lot of stress. Stress could come from dealing with traffic congestion, higher cost of living, and demanding jobs and workplaces,” says Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) secretary-general Datin Ang Kim Teng.

Ang tells TheEdgeProperty.com that stress is essential to keep one moving forward, but too much stress can lead to mental illness.

Citing a survey carried out by the Ministry of Health in 2015, she points out that 39.8% of KL folks have different levels of mental illness, such as stress, anxiety and depression. The figure was lower in Penang and Johor Bahru, at 19.1% and 22.2%, respectively.

“The findings of the ministry’s study and TheEdgeProperty.com-Lafarge Happiness in the City Index 2017 survey correlate, although the latter mentions stress but not mental illness. However, as Ang said, if you are not handling stress carefully, it will slowly transform into mental illness,” says MMHA president See Cheng Siang.

See says stress may also come from loneliness and the lack of an extensive family support, especially for those who are not originally from KL.

“KL is a migrant city — many people came here to further their studies and work. Most of them have to depend on themselves without the mental and emotional support of their families,” he shares.

Ang also adds that many people choose to face their stress-related problems on their own rather than seek help because of the stigma attached to mental illness.

“There are many reasons for the number of people suffering from serious stress problems and mental illness. I think one crucial problem is that Asians still view seeking help from psychiatrists or even counsellors as a stigma,” says Ang.

She stresses that mental illness is just like any other physical illness such as fever and flu. “You will go to a doctor if you feel feverish and your throat is sore, but why wouldn’t you go to a professional if you are mentally sick?” Besides seeking professional help, other options that Ang and See suggest to de-stress are balancing out the time for work and leisure, talking to people and enjoying nature.

“It is proven that greenery will help you relax. However, I would not say KL people are stressed out because we do not have enough green spaces.

“Green spaces can help people de-stress only if people use them. Many people in the city would rather go indoors in their leisure time,” See points out.

Source: TheEdgeProperty.com.my


  1. Macha
    July 18th, 2017 at 09:29 | #1

    Yes, we Penang folks are indeed a happy bunch, but we’ll be even more happier if we have better job opportunities and LRT like KL folks

  2. edisongan
    July 18th, 2017 at 09:39 | #2

    Macha :
    Yes, we Penang folks are indeed a happy bunch, but we’ll be even more happier if we have better job opportunities and LRT like KL folks

    Don’t be sarcastic, job opportunies in KL do not grant you high pay but much higher living cost than Penang a lot…Their pay averagely is highly 15% than us only..Except the industry that’s is not popular in Penang.e.g.Multimedia things..

    LRT is in progress but state government indeed faces a lot of challenges and obstacles from our good federal government..But I am sure we will get there soon..

    Let’s stay united..

  3. jibril
    July 18th, 2017 at 12:58 | #3

    If only the state government stop songlap all the money, we might end up having better transportation. RM200 millions for documents, just to name a one case…

    July 18th, 2017 at 14:29 | #4

    sadly to say, when comes to infrastructure development, state is very much a toothless tiger.

  5. moderntalk
    July 18th, 2017 at 17:52 | #5

    It is understandable that penang people are generally happier than those in KL at this moment. Food sucks in KL, massive traffic jam (will change for the better after MRT), congested population and all the other ills of a typical big city. Penang is lucky to be a second tier city, which normally has a better quality of life compared to a big city, that’s the trend all over the world. The happier people in Penang vs KL cannot be credited to the current PG state gov as it is just the nature of a 2nd tier city. But if you compare happy index pre-2008 vs post-2008 just in Penang alone, I think it should be almost the same, some better, some worse, so even out. That’s why I always say, it does not really matter in Penang whether it’s Pakatan or BN, the most important thing is, don’t let the politicians control you, you should control them and make them work harder. The politicians should always serve because they want to serve the people, not because they want to make themselves rich.

  6. James
    July 19th, 2017 at 09:58 | #6

    Then buy a bike, issue solved for individual. you don’t have to wait for endless of discussion

  7. Phileo Damansara
    July 19th, 2017 at 19:51 | #7

    This DAP has proven time and again that it is not only powerless but also mega corrupt. DAP will be wiped out this coming elections. No prizes for guessing who will be joining who in Kajang soon…all these delay games will soon come to an end…..DAP good riddance to bad rubbish

  8. Roan
    July 22nd, 2017 at 17:40 | #8

    @Phileo Damansara

    another sad soul from KL trying to smear Penang. I feel really sorry for you and your family.

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