Participants at the forum ‘Penang: Has anything changed after two years?’ organised by the Penang Forum Working Group, today passed two resolutions.
First, they welcomed and supported the call by the Penang state government to hold local council elections. To this end, they called on the Elections Commission to respond positively to the state government’s request that they carry out such elections. In the interim period, they called upon the Penang state government to increase the representation of public-interest NGOs to at least five each in the MPPP and the MPSP.
Second, they called upon the state government and the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) to make public the Local Plan, which has been completed (and revised) since 2009 and that this be made available for a period of three months for public scrutiny and feedback, in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act.
The forum was attended by some 170 participants, which included representatives from 35 Penang-based NGOs. The programme included:
- an overview of the challenges, achievements and missed opportunities faced by the Pakatan state government,
- the Penang Forum’s experience in engaging with the state government since 2008,
- a case study of the transport situation in Penang,
- a look at some of the Seberang Perai issues, and
- discussions on the local plan and local democracy
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The event, on the eve of the second anniversary of Pakatan rule in Penang, saw participants freely articulating a range of views and learning from one another.
Following animated group discussions at the end of the day, participants identified activities and initiatives which would raise public participation in local democracy, sustainable development and good governance. It was clear that participants wanted the Penang Forum to continue as an avenue for such issues to be raised and discussed.
The presentations and a summary of the discussions will be uploaded on the Penang Forum website in due course.
This was the second occasion the Penang Forum has been held since April 2008. The Working Group for Penang Forum 2 is drawn from representatives of 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.
Penang Forum Working Group
7 March 2010