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Empowering people towards a new vision for Penang

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The Working Group for the Penang Forum is holding a public forum “Penang Forum 2” from 9.00am to 5.00pm at the Caring Society Complex along Jalan Utama on Sunday, 7 March.

The Penang Forum is an informal network of some 40 Penang-based NGOs and concerned individuals who came together in April 2008 to chart a possible way forward for Penang.

After the 2008 event, a Penang Forum Declaration was submitted to the state government calling for a new partnership with the Penang people based on the principles of popular participation, transparency, accountability, sustainability and social justice.

The government was also urged to set up mechanisms for civil society groups to meet with the government regularly. This would provide an avenue for these groups to make input into policy making, monitor and provide feedback on these policies and help the government to resolve problems and conflicts if required. The NGOs also called for easy access to public facilities such as the Caring Society Complex and Dewan Sri Pinang for their public education activities and other events.

During 2008, working groups were set up to look into the Environment, Heritage, Transport, Women, Youth and Students, Persons with Disabilities, Labour, the Arts, Local Government, Health and Goodwill. These groups came up with recommendations that were presented to the State Government in March 2009. See the Penang Forum website for their reports.

The Pakatan Rakyat has now ruled Penang for two years. What has changed during that period? What has the new Penang State Government achieved or has it lost its way? Are there obstacles we don’t know about? What are the constraints arising from our centralised federal system? What about the budget for Penang? Has the government attempted to improve the quality of life in areas such as public transport and traffic congestion, affordable housing, recreational facilities, accessibility for the disabled, environmental protection and gender equality? What has become of the Local Plan? How has the government responded to calls for local government elections? What about problems faced in Seberang Perai, which the 2008 forum neglected to address? These are some of the issues that will be discussed at the 2010 forum.

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The idea behind all this is not simply to organise yet another forum, but to couple this with popular consultation and participation on the issues that matter. In this regard, the future direction of Penang is not only dependent on lobbying the government of the day but in seizing the opportunity to outline and promote a vision of the Penang we desire.

Hence, we invite all Penangites to participate, share their views and make suggestions to realise this vision for Penang. Those interested should contact 04-6585251 or [email protected] to register. (Registration fee is RM10, senior citizens and students, RM5.)

For the day’s programme, please refer to the Penang Forum website at penangforum.net

The Working Group for the Penang Forum 2 is drawn from representatives of the following groups: Aliran, Jerit Penang, Malaysian Nature Society, Penang Heritage Trust, Penang Transport Council, Persatuan Orang Cacat Anggota Malaysia (Pocam), Sustainable Independent Living and Access (Sila), Suaram Penang and Women’s Centre for Change. Representatives of more Penang-based NGOs are expected to be present at the event proper on 7 March.

Dr Francis Loh and Anil Netto, on behalf of the Penang Forum Working Group


Penang Forum 2: Has Anything Changed After 2 Years?

Sunday, 7 March 2010, Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang,
Organiser: Penang Forum Working Group

8.15-9.00am – Registration

9.00-9.10am – Welcome

9.10–10.40am – Overview of the Challenges

    Chair: Ahmad Chik

    Federal-State relations: Francis Loh
    Budget and Economy: Lim Mah Hui
    What has been Achieved: Lim Kah Cheng
    Missed Opportunities: Anil Netto
    Open Discussion (30 mins)

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10.45-11.15am – Coffee Break

11.15-11.45am – The Penang Forum Experience: James Lochhead

Chair: Loh-Lim Lin Lee

Open Discussion (15 mins)

11.45-12.30pm – Transport: A Case Study: Ahmad Chik

Chair: Laurence Loh

Open Discussion (30 mins)

12.30-2.00pm – Lunch

2.00-3.00pm – Seberang Prai Issues                              

    Chair: Kris Khaira

    Housing and Flooding: Sarajun Hoda
    Environment and Youth: (to be confirmed)
    Development and Labour: T. Jayabalan
    Open Discussion (20 mins)

3.00- 4.00pm –  Local Democracy & Local Plan: Peoples’ Involvement

    Chair: Loh CK

    Opportunities for Local Democracy: Lim Kah Cheng
    Examples of Local Democracy in Selangor: Ong Jing Cheng
    The Penang Local Plan: Goh Ban Lee
    Open Discussion (20 mins)

4.00-5.00pm – Moving forward

    Facilitators: Soon Chuan Yean and Prema Devaraj

    Group Discussion (30 mins)
    Open Discussion (30 mins)

5.00pm Tea and Close

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