OP-ED: Time for more Strategic Citizen Impatience for a Bicycle Master Plan for Penang

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Penang has waited long enough, too long I would say, to have a real cycling program, which starts on and will transform the streets to ensure safe and abundant cycling for all ages. As far as I can see (I hope I am wrong) the State government of has not announced strategic program for a cycling renaissance, no comprehensive audit, no specific commitment, no explicit goals, no announced global budget, no open working group, and no timetable or metrics again which success or failure could be judged. Yes, you have some activities and improvements going on here and there– but these are fragmented and there is no overarching MASTER PLAN FOR CYCLING IN PENANG.

 * Eric Britton: Notes from a group discussion on the Sustainable Penang WhatsApp forum of the lack of a structured bicycle plan for Penang, 17 Feb. 2017

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Archives: The struggle for local democracy in Malaysia

This is one of those special times for Malaysia when change and ideas are most  welcome. So there is hope and opportunity.  And it is one of those special times when change, even paradigm shifts are possible, and local governments given a new and more central place in the lives of our citizens. If we can together constructively, creatively and systematically build and add to the many promising initiatives , and if civic engagement leads an upsurge of citizen interest, we will surely see the emergence of an efficient, effective, equitable, democratic local government system in Malaysia that is socially, ecologically and economically sustainable.  And make a marked improvement in the quality of life of all Malaysians.
* Anwar Fazal, Penang. In Malaysiakini, 12 April 2001

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Sustainable Penang’s Open Citizen Discussion Forum: Archives Dec. 2015-Oct. 2016

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Serendipity: The Happy Surprise

On 14 Dec. 2015: Mr. Lim Thean Heng, Chief Engineer, for reasons of his own, decided to created a WhatsApp group, “Sustainable Penang”. The results of his successful initiative can be accessed online via https://web.whatsapp.com/, and from there clicking the menu to Sustainable Penang. The forum is open to invited participants, and thus far has almost two hundred members, roughly 20% or so from outside Penang.  One of the main targets of the forum is to get feedback and views on the state government ‘s work in preparation of a Penang Transport Master Plan, on which there are many opposing views, including in the most informed public and reaches of civil society. But that is not the only thing that gets talked about there.

Did you realise that our WhatsApp forum is also a valuable research tool?

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Op-Ed. Is Penang for sale? On Ketakbolehbalikan, अचल , 不可逆性 and Irreversibilities

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What troubles me most about the permissiveness and the ambition, of present government policies in so many areas – such as protecting the forest reserves as just one example among many— is the entire matter of irreversibilities of which there are far too many examples and which do not seem to be taken into consideration.

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NGOs: Don’t rush to endorse Penang transport master plan

Fifteen local NGOs have cautioned Penangites not to rush to endorse the state’s mega-billion transport master plan (PTMP), saying more consultation and transparency are needed in the massive deal.

The NGOs, including Aliran and the Penang Heritage Trust, issued a joint statement giving Penangites nine major reasons why “the people of Penang should not be rushed into signing this important agreement”.

They said this while commending and expressing support on the need to prioritise public transport over the present private car-centric transport system.

Critical issues they want the state and its appointed project delivery partner SRS Consortium to address include the tremendous costs involved – currently estimated at RM40 billion.. .

“The most worrying concern is that the PTMP lacks vision, it is touted as a plan for Penang for the next 50 years yet it is trapped in 20th century technology and approach in planning,” the NGOs said.

“It proposes obsolescent solutions to Penang’s transport problems, ignoring the latest developments in mass transit planning around the world.

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The Transportation Majority. (And why can’t our politicians count?)

Not only in Penang and Malaysia more generally, but in city after city, country after country  around the world elected politicians all too often have given ample proof that when it comes to sustainability, transport, fairness and even efficiency they just don’t get it. They plan and spend hard-earned taxpayer money for a distinct if powerful minority of all citizens and voters. It is amazing that they still manage to get elected in democracies. What’s going on?

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Comments /Questions to PTMP here!

Malaysian school children girls questionHere’s an easy way to keep track of questions and comments as invited by the organizers of the latest state website in support of the Penang Transport Master Plan, version 7 April 2015 at http://goo.gl/8vchW3.  Once you have posted your question to the state site, you are then invited to add it here as well. You can do this  by clicking the Comments tag just to your left, and then simply pasting a copy of your question and reference number.  Then anyone who wishes to review all these comments or questions has only to click to   http://wp.me/p3GVVk-sr — and off they go.

Have a look at the first posted by way of example. And if that does not work for you, you can always copy it by email to penang@ecoplan.org.