Democracy, Civil Society, & Team Building in Penang: Key Organizations and Agencies

Penang civil society public meeting on PTMP - anil Netto.PNG

Civil Society is the life raft of 21st century democracy

The following listing of twenty-plus organizations is intended eventually to be extended to identify all those groups and institutions who are going to have a role in the restructuring of Penang’s mobility arrangements. (Note: Each of these entries is clickable and will take you directly to the indicated source.)

But here’s our question. Are there other groups, programs and agencies (and companies and media) who should be identified here for communication and coordination purposes in support of the project?  For example, are there units or projects at the level of local government which are aimed at specific near term problems or issues

And should you have a contact name and email address at hand, that would be much appreciated. If so please let us know via the email address penang@ecoplan.org. Thank you.

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No federal support for proposed Penang transport projects? TURN SETBACK INTO OPPORTUNITY

The difficulty in securing a federal bridging loan of RM1bn makes this a timely occasion to reiterate the colossal financial obligations involved, says Penang Forum.

Everyone wants the traffic congestion in Penang to be reduced. We want it as soon as possible.

Perhaps the complication in the Penang state government’s plan in securing federal bridging loan financing for phase one of the six-lane Pan Island Link highway (PIL1) will be an opportunity for it to rethink and review SRS Consortium’s RM46bn transport infrastructure proposal.

Penang Transport Master Plan SRS proposal

Conduct a review

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PENANG TRANSPORT COMPETENCE: THE NEED FOR INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY BUILDING (Halcrow 2011-2013)

This article addresses a critical part of the on-going Penang transport master planning process — the importance of professional competence int the sustainable transport planning field —which at present is doing so very poorly on just about all fronts.  It presents extracts from the final chapter and overview for the necessary future preparations as set out in Halcrow’s “Institutional  Plan” document of October 2012 . The complete original report is available at http://bit.ly/2KvCz1u.

This excellent analysis and action program recommendations for the future was paid for by the citizens and taxpayers of Penang.  All the reports in this series are being made freely available to all under the Creative Commons  Public Domain License  ( https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/PDM_FAQ)

Readers interested in accessing the eight key volumes, will find them available in the Penang/Battle of Ideas “Watching Brief “web site at http://bit.ly/2KEXWcS – and from there cursor down to the right hand column under the heading Halcrow Reports: 2011-2013.

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RETHINKING NEW MOBILITY IN PENANG: The search for Values, Vision, Competence, Strategies, Tactics . . and Happiness.

malaysia Penang trishaw sleeping driver

Introduction.

Dr. AH Abdul Hamid, an eminent traffic and transport engineer from the School of Housing, Building and Planning at the USM, has recently  issued a strong call to respond to the at times acrimonious debate between the government and its consultants who are defending a high cost, car-oriented, project-oriented “Big Bang” program of costly investments (PTMP), and on the other side a coalition of representatives of civil society in Penang who are asking for a revised planning process that better corresponds  to the needs, the environment and the vision of the people of Penang. This call, first published locally in Chinese in the China Press of August 13, 2016 was translated into English and reposted in the Wednesday edition of World Streets – http://wp.me/psKUY-4wd.

Dr. Hamad takes a step back from the increasingly acrimonious public arguments and recommends that

  • “the government engage independent experts to study both the proposals by SRS and the NGOs, based on best scientific estimates of construction cost, acquisition cost, maintenance and operation cost, life cycle, opportunity costs and externalities, ridership, environmental and life quality impacts, cultural and heritage issues, impacts on vulnerable populations, etc. . . .  instead of keep on arguing.”

Inspired by this call for perspective in the following article I have pulled out of my working  notes this article sketching what I believe to be the first basics of an appropriate planning structure and strategy for the much-needed rethink, based on the experience of many cities at the leading edge of sustainable transport that works for all.  In this form it is not an easy read, and for that I appologize. My point is that we need to find a solid science-based middle ground, and as Hilmy advises get on with it “instead of keep on arguing.”

For extensive background on both sides of this debate readers are invited to consult the right hand column of the Sustainable Penang/New Mobility website at https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/, .

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ON TRANSPORT PLANNING, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNICAL COMPETENCES IN PENANG (View and make up your own mind)

Please invert for better understanding

 

The incompetent leading the unwilling to do the unnecessary. 

Oops. This harsh charge has been leveled on an increasing number of occasions by people and groups across and beyond Penang who are highly dissatisfied with the  competence,  appropriateness and huge cost of the on-going “Penang Transport Master Plan”  and related infrastructure projects and measures.  Is there any validity to this charge, or is it just a case of political quibbling?  Let’s take a step back and have a look.

How competent is the PTMP and the team behind it?

A 16 November 2018 Battle of Ideas Google Survey reports more than 21,000 background references expressing different points of view of the competence, the need for further skills upgrading at all levels of the planning process,  and specific recommendations of the much-contested, long-pending and greatly behind-schedule Penang Transport Master Plan.

We invite you to have a good look at the results of this search at http://bit.ly/2zbJm9b and make up your own mind on the subject. You will find additional information on the subject in the Working Brief postings here at https://wp.me/p3GVVk-mb

LATEST NEWS: PRESS AND SOCIAL MEDIA:

* Click here — http://bit.ly/2zbQUJ2

Penang MP Poster 1

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND

Abundant valuable background and perspective on this topic of the importance for upgrading technical and institutional competence at all levels of the state and local government can be found in the eight volume report and recommendations of the highly respected international transport consultancy, Halcrow, — https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B41h-Am2TpUHdVVrZ0NiVGxNUlE?tid=0B41h-Am2TpUHT25JRXlzQ1dxZE0 —

Specifically on the issue of capacity building, the substantial chapter 8.3 on Institutional Strengthening from the final Halcrow report of 13 March 2013 under the title “The Recommended Transport Master Plan Strategy — is strongly recommended as an expert view from an independent and qualified source.

TIMELINE

Penang Alt MP - 7

Finally to fully understand the cycle of main events that took place from the beginning of  and defined the PTMP proposal, we would draw your attention to the following humorous (but accurate) three minute summary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B9o1baUaP8

Penang 3 minue video on PTMP

CONCLUSION

The individuals behind the Penang Master Plan are good, well educated and caring people.  But they have the wrong skills in this case.

The present plan and process is seriously flawed. The importance of skills and competence upgrading at all levels of the planning, policy and implementation process  cannot be exaggerated. And ever evidence points to the fact that this critical upgrading and education process is being ignored as the key actors continue to believe that the key to cutting road congestion and emissions lies in further infrastructure capacity expansion and not in TDM – Transport Demand Management — as the leading edge of expertise and performance have understood for more than a generation. Penang needs to catch up!

COMMENTS

Your comments, criticism and eventual further references and conclusions are most welcome. You might wish to note them here, or address them by email direct to penang@ecoplan.org. Or by direct video-conference to the Skype address: newmobility.

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About the author: 

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, mediator and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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PENANG TRANSPORT MASTER PLAN: State government justification, strategy and proposed projects

PTMP Banner for home page

Extract downloaded from Penang State Government site, 25 Aug. 2018 Source: http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.en

Foreword By Right Honourable Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of PenangPenang CM  Lim Guan Eng -2

The State Government takes issues on road congestion and public transport system in Penang seriously since it was voted into office in 2008. It has embarked on an initiative to conduct a comprehensive study, the Penang Transport Master Plan (TMP) regarding the current state of the transport system and traffic in May 2011.

Penang continues to face major problems – the 3Cs viz. crime, cleanliness and congestion. These problems have compounded due to the influx of investors and tourists to the state. In 2008-2014, Penang recorded an investment of RM48.2 billion compared to only RM24.9 billion in 2001 – 2007. This twofold increase in investment has subsequently contributed to the rise in the number of tourists both local or overseas that choose Penang as a preferred tourist destination.

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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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