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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Sustainable Penang Civil Society Honor Roll

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Dear Friends of a Sustainable Penang,

I am hard at work on a challenging book under the title BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Mobility to Smaller Asian Cities, which is not about Penang, the focus being much broader. However, at one point in the book I intend to comment on some of the most interesting things I have observed that are being done in Penang via the internet and civil society in order to broaden the debate and inform both concerned citizens, government, the business community, policy makers and the public more generally. We call this The Third Force.

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Resignation speech of Dr. Lim Mah Hui to Penang Island City Council

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Address to the Full Council Meeting of MBPP, December 22, 2016

I wish to inform my fellow councilors that this will be my last speech to the Council as I have declined to be nominated by civil society to the State authority for reappointment to the Council.

Let me now touch on the running of the Council. The Council exists to serve rate payers and the public. . .  In the interest of promoting greater transparency and participation, and in accordance with Local Agenda 21 that encourages the promotion greater public participation, this Council should be a leader to adopt the policy of allowing members of the public to speak at full council meetings, and also to open up its committee and sub-committee meetings to members of the public.

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Book review: Urban Transport Crisis in Emerging Economies

pojani-stead-urban-transport-crisis-small-coverWe are about to introduce this book to our 4,434 readers living and working in no less than 149 countries, most of whom in “emerging economies” — but let’s make this first part of this review very simple.  If you are at all interested in the on-going tectonic shift from what we used to call “transport” or “transportation” to the far more elusive and difficult “sustainable transport” or “mobility”, especially in the context of cities, this is a book which you really have to spend some time with to read and savour. It is timely, deep, critical, fair and wise. And not only for those working in the emerging economies

(Notice: For many of our readers, students, young professionals, NGO’s or tightly funded small city administrations, the hefty price may be a problem,. But let’s first take a good look at the book and then we can talk about a possible work-around for that price.)

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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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