WHOSE OPINION MATTERS? Commentary on report of Dr. Minal Pathak

Lessons from a Stakeholder Engagement Process for Penang, Malaysia
Author: Minal Pathak • MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program 2017

 – Commentary by Eric Britton, Professor of Sustainable Development, Institut Supérieur de Gestion Paris

“Recommended reading for anyone who cares about Penang and Democracy”

The author, Dr. Minal Pathak, has done a very effective job in her investigation — and that at an important time in the struggle about the State government’s heavily contested “Transport Master Plan”. I particularly admire the way which she judiciously sticks with her scholarly plan of departure, namely to analyze and report calmly and with great balance on this as a clear example of Lessons from a stakeholder engagement process.

Dr. Pathak never take sides, which gives her instant credibility. And to me, that is what she has achieved here and to her great credit. And thus, because of this quiet balance, the reader believes her.

The video works very well too: again that same calm balance and the decision to bring in a wide variety of views. I must say that the balanced but really very hard-hitting words offered by Penang State Assemblywoman Dr. Norlela Arrifin sum up what I believe to be the core of the case very nicely: “To me this plan is really mind boggling. Why can’t we just take a step back and really talk with the public (from the beginning).”

Penang and the citizens of Penang owe a real debt of gratitude to the contribution of Dr. Pathak.

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Some useful  references:

full MIT report is available here – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318982395_WHOSE_OPINION_MATTERS_LESSONS_FROM_A_STAKEHOLDER_ENGAGEMENT_PROCESS_FOR_PENANG_MALAYSIA

• The video is available on MIT’s video channel here – https://vimeo.com/221918422

• The Penang State Government’s Transport Master Plan – http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my/index.php/en/

• Google on the PTMP – https://goo.gl/BqjV6z

• Related videos: https://goo.gl/BgbywB

• World Streets Watching Brief: https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/penang-challenge/

• Better Choices: Towards a New Mobility Agenda for Penang – https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang/

• Support Penang Transport Master Plan – https://www.facebook.com/PenangTransportMasterPlan/

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About the investigator:

Dr. Minal Pathak
Senior Scientist WGIII Technical Support Unit
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Wing 16-G Indian Institute of Management
Vastrapur, Ahmedabad 380015, INDIA
– minalpathak01@gmail.com


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 https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton

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