WHOSE OPINION MATTERS? Lessons from a stakeholder engagement process for Penang, Malaysia

This study examines stakeholder involvement in a transportation plan in Penang, Malaysia. The study employs a qualitative methodology and uses select indicators to evaluate the engagement process. Despite a concerted effort to engage the public, the government failed to resolve conflicts with key stakeholder groups.

Author: Minal Pathak • MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program 2017
* PDF Download available from https://goo.gl/AhBC4o

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Why Alternatives Analysis is critical to Penang’s transportation future

Alternatives assessment or alternatives analysis is a problem-solving approach used in environmental design, technology, and policy. It aims to minimize environmental harm by comparing multiple potential solutions in the context of a specific problem, design goal, or policy objective. It is intended to inform decision-making in situations with many possible courses of action, a wide range of variables to consider, and significant degrees of uncertainty.

Since the early 1970’s transportation planners apply a multi-modal and/or comprehensive approach to analyzing a wide range of alternatives and impacts on the transportation system to influence beneficial outcomes

Penang’s SRS ca. RM 50 bn “Transport Master Plan” does not make scientific use of an essential transport planning and decision tool, namely Alternatives Analysis to test and compare alternative solutions to identified mobility solutions (see below). This is a grave deficiency which discredits the entire body of proposals,, methodology and recommendations currently being actively pushed by the state government and their under-qualified  consulting partners whose expertise lies in other sectors than strategic transport planning and policy..

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New reports for Sustainable Penang Open Transport Library

Full and open access to key documents and reports necessary for full public, NGO, media and international expert review, questions and commentary on the costs, technical details, analysis and justifications for the RM27-50  billion (it apparently depends on whom you ask and when) Penang Transport Master Plan has been seriously inhibited by the State government and their property development consultants and partners (SRS Consortium).

In the face of this resistance an informal citizen alliance and NGO task force has emerged and started to assemble and make freely available a growing library of key documents. At present there are more than 200 volumes and working papers already assembled in the library at https://goo.gl/xjCRT9.

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SUSTAINABLE PENANG WHATSAPP AS A CROWD RESEARCH TOOL

Dear friends, we have a wonderful resource here with Whatsapp Sustainable Penang in the form of a searchable database of all of our exchanges since the generous creation of this great collaborative tool by no less than the formidable Engineer Lim Thean Heng all the way back there on December 14, 2015.

Just in case you didn’t notice it the transcript of all of these conversations which I have collected and inspected in searchable form run for more than half a million words of what . . . Not just idle chat, but rather the exchanges of a conserved citizenry about the sustainability challenges of Penang in all its dimensions, including of course the running battle of the Penang Transport Master Plan .

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9/11 REPORT CARD: Transport planning and policy in Penang (from a NPOV)

Help needed for better balanced coverage of ongoing Penang TMP discussions and next moves

Penang blind walkers white cane day


From the beginning of my relationship with Penang starting in the summer of 2013, I decided as part of my original exploratory mission with Think City  to create an open public website to share my experience widely with my international colleagues.  And then based on this common data platform from time to time to solicit their professional views on technical  areas with which I may be familiar for the point of view of policy, but in which I am not technically qualified.

The platform is entitled Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility Agenda. It went on line on 20 June 2013, has been carefully maintained since,  and you can find it at  https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/

My goal in doing this was to create something along the lines of a personal “Journal of Record” of all I was seeing, hearing and learning about transport and land use issues, analysis, planning and policy in your beautiful and oh so delicate city-state. The intention was to open up the issues and discussions taking place in Penang to our extensive network of international colleagues, hopefully from a balanced professional perspective and in a comprehensive manner.

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World Streets International Advisory Council

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With one eye to laying the base for our work and collaborative programs , we are currently in the process of updating and extending this list of distinguished international colleagues, each of whom is hard at work day after day on challenges, projects and programs, alone and with others, all in support of the principles of sustainable development and equity, in cities and countries around the world.  It is our intention to have the revised and expanded version of this panel listing online in the early autumn of 2016.

The final version will include some explanatory materials  to clarify the process by which this “New Mobility Majority” is in the process of overtaking the old attitudes, approaches and policies which have been largely responsible for our gross under-performance in the sector,  all the more important as the 21st century noose tightens in terms of climate, local environment, energy supply, scarce resources, the economy, congestion, poor service quality for the majority, and the long list goes on.  (In the meantime we want to hear from you with your ideas and outstanding nominations for the panel.  And if you spot errors or omissions on the following, please get in touch and let us know.)

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