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Penang Forum Agenda 2018 unveiled

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Penang Forum has a list of demands which it calls on Penang’s newly elected officials of 2018 to act upon and deliver.

These demands are related to the three principles of good governance, social inclusion and sustainable development.

Penang Forum is a voice for the public interest and progressive social change. Formed in 2007, Penang Forum is a coalition of civil society organisations and affiliates. It is made up of committed activists who have dedicated up to four decades of their lives for a better society (a few of whom have served time for their beliefs), as well as talented young activists. Penang Forum’s views are informed by a panel of scientists, ecologists, economists, lawyers, educators, cultural specialists, human rights activists and other public intellectuals of international standing.

We periodically organise public forums to discuss issues that are of importance to the Penang people and highlight the recommendations to the Penang state government. Among the recent issues we have taken up are hill development, flooding and transport planning. Penang Forum members have an established track record in working together with federal, state and local governments, and the private sector, for a better Penang and a better Malaysia.

In 2008, Penang Forum produced a declaration and gathered issue-based working groups to produce a comprehensive report of the issues confronting Penang. This was addressed to the newly elected Pakatan government.

In the last ten years, the state has made progress on some fronts but has also seen major challenges arising from overdependence on growth driven by the property sector and tourism. Car-centred urban sprawl and overdevelopment are destructively encroaching upon our hills, rivers, and seas. We believe that our present trajectory of development is unsustainable.

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A far-sighted vision for Penang requires a paradigm shift to new urbanism, sustainable transport and environmental resilience. The New Urban Agenda is supporting the call for a new urbanism — transit-oriented development, walkable downtowns, mixed-income housing, plenty of public green open spaces and social inclusion.

While Penang Forum’s 2018 demands are more focused on local issues, it supports and complements demands made by other progressive civil society groups on national issues.

The following are Penang Forum’s recommendations and reports:

Good governance and strong public institutions

1. Bring back local elections
2. Increase civil society representation in the interim
3. PM, CM, and MB focus on holistic role and should not take on other ministries/portfolios
4. Limit the terms of office of the PM, CM, and MB to two consecutive terms
5. Politicians should not sit on boards of government-linked companies
6. Immediate gazetting of Local Plans with full public participation
7. Start a Penang Youth City Council to develop projects on issues important to youth.
8. Encourage youth representation in urban development planning discourse
9. Stop swap deals in land reclamation

Equitable sharing of resources and social inclusion

10. Adopt a comprehensive approach to housing policy, prioritising social housing for B40
11. Provide affordable housing which is no more than 3 times annual income for M40
12. Make public buildings, spaces and transport accessible for people with disabilities
13. Fulfill employment and housing quotas for people with disabilities
14. Increase the Warga Emas cash handout and target only the elderly from B40 households.
15. Upgrade public facilities, council and state flats, to elderly-friendly universal design.
16. Update, adopt and implement the 2013 Penang Gender Policy to achieve gender equality
17. Enhance gender and leadership training and accelerate women’s representation in politics
18. Implement a fair labour policy and provide decent housing for migrant workers
19. Ratify the 1951 UNHCR Convention
20. Support refugees’ access to education, decent housing, healthcare and other services
21. Reclaimed land should be leasehold
22. Ensure public access to waterfront and coastline

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Sustainable development and environmental protection

23. Planning approvals and densities should be based on carrying capacity of the area
24. Prioritise accessible and integrated public transport over highway building
25. Immediate implementation of bus lanes and BRTs
26. Improve ferry service and introduce cross-channel rail link instead of building a tunnel
27. Stop creating artificial islands through reclamation
28. Include climate change in all aspects of planning
29. Immediate moratorium on development projects on hill land
30. More stringent prosecution of illegal clearing of hill land
31. Make urban spaces more spongey to prevent flash floods
32. Stop cutting down mangroves, conserve and expand mangrove areas
33. Work towards joint World Heritage inscription of Pulau Jerejak and Sungai Buloh
34. No bridge, no reclamation and no theme park on Pulau Jerejak
35. Develop a state urban forestry action plan
36. Conserve and increase public open space and greenery
37. No cable car and rifle range in the Penang Botanic Gardens
38. Gazette the Prangin Canal site as a public park
39. Extend heritage protection to heritage sites outside the World Heritage zone
40. Develop sustainable and responsible tourism rather than mass tourism


Good governance and strong public institutions

1. Good Governance
2. Planning for Sustainable Development

Equitable sharing of resources and social inclusion

3. Social and Affordable Housing
4. Social Inclusion for People with Disabilities
5. Youth and Students in Penang
6. Gender Equality and Justice for Women
7. Senior Citizens
8. Migrant Workers
9. Refugees

Sustainable development and environmental protection

10. Transport – The Way Forward
11. Land Reclamation
12. Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change
13. Hill Land Policies
14. Floods
15. Mangroves
16. Pulau Jerejak
17. Urban Forestry
18. Gardens, Parks and Public Open Spaces
19. Prangin Canal
20. Heritage

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Penang Forum Agenda 2018 summary in slides (pdf file)

Penang Forum Agenda 2018 – the full 64-page report (pdf file)

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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