Penang Transport Master Plan Review Process: 2016

What strikes me in all this — and I have seen more than one hundred such plan or project review processes in cities all over the world — is that (a) the present process is totally controlled by the current administration who are in fact one of the concerned parties and (b the information on this review process and the alternative positions and views thus far is highly scattered and difficult to access. This is a familiar pattern.

There should be one port of entry, a neutral space on the web, independent of local or national government, to which interested citizens or groups can turn to get clear statements of what the government is proposing — and what the various critical reactions are. We have tried, from afar and without government or other support, to provide gathering spaces for the exchange of information and views. I shall shortly report on these here.
BTW, what you need and what you do NOT have is a capable, representative Penang Transport Council which reflects the perspective and value of the leading Civil Society groups and NGOs. And not just nominees of current government administrators. Moreover, to bring up two important details: The Civil Society groups should have a majority of at least one, to underline their competence and long term attachment to the issues which they address.
But that’s not all and that is here where some may have a few reservations. The revised, independent, expert, representative PTC which is needed to lead this public discussion of the draft plan should have a strong representation of female leaders, including in the wide range of fields and specialties which need to be taken into full account in any decision making or advisory body. It is my personal recommendation that at least 40% of the membership should be acknowledged female leaders working in key associated areas: gender rights, equity, public health,education, environment, land use planning, economic policy, poverty issues, household management, and the special issues of women, transport and safety in public places.
These are issues and areas of daily life in which even the best prepared males are not really able to understand. (It must be that pesky Y-chromosome or perhaps the testosterone.)
We can find plentiful guidance on Women’s leadership and political participation from UNWomen, starting at And more also from the Gender, Equity and Transport program initiated by the World Bank in 2003 and active to this day at
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About the author:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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