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.

Continue reading

Kaohsiung Accomplishments And Technical Competence Deficits In Penang

Comment from Yueh Kwong Leong in today’s WhatsApp S/P  exchanges: “Kaohsiung in Taiwan was considered the most polluted industrial city in Asian. It is today considered as one of the most green city in Asia.”

Penang Halcrow Insitutionnal Plan report cover top halfKaohsiung, yes! Good example.

For the record, we have been strategically involved in the Kaohsiung transition process in the transport sector since 2009. Among that city’s great accomplishments have been an important capacity building effort over the last decade, both within the various local government offices, but also because Taiwan has developed world level technical, planning and policy capabilities and a professional/university network that puts the necessary expertise at the fingertips of local government. These networks of competence are important factors in the advances being made not only in Kaohsiung but also a number of other cities in Taiwan.  (Cities compete!)

As far as I am concerned this is THE GREAT WEAK POINT in your capabilities in Penang today – and the general chaos that has surrounded the so-called PTMP has in large part due to these persistent technical competence deficits.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

PENANG TRANSPORT MASTER PLAN WATCHING BRIEF (Nov. 2018 Update)

FB SP eb books report title

– Eric Britton, Paris. Update of 30 October 2018

Why a Watching Brief for Penang?

On 23 November 2013 I submitted the final report and recommendations to close out the first stage of my planned work as an invited adviser and critic of Penang’s transportation strategy, plans and procedures.  (See the Mission statement at  https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/the-mission/ ) The report was intended as a working draft for wide distribution  and vigorous critical discussion in the following months. It was entitled:

“SUSTAINABLE PENANG: TOWARD A NEW MOBILITY AGENDA”      

    Phase 1 Report, Brainstorming  and Policy Recommendations 

You can access the full advisory report here –  http://bit.ly/2IqZ0PO

HOLD IT!  Expected next stage not engaged. What happened?

When the report and its recommendations were apparently set aside and entirely ignored — as had been the fate of the  excellent, highly professional reports and recommendations of the Halcrow Transport Group — I decided not to let it ride and instead of turning my back on this highly dangerous “Master Plan” project chose to set up a public “Watching Brief on Sustainable Transport in Penang” . The objective of the brief is to follow and report to a wide international audience on the continuing see-saw battle between an obstinate under-qualified state government consortium and powerful lobby with a closed-door multi-billion dollar “Big Bang” (their words) program of massive infrastructure expansion, almost all parts of which would in good time succeed only in making what is already a bad situation (mainly nothing more fearful than a plain-vanilla peak hour congestion problem) significantly worse.

After noting the resounding silence in Penang as far as my analysis and recommendations were concerned, my option was to cash the client’s check, do nothing and forget Penang.  Or perhaps to set up something along the lines of an independent . .  .

Watching Brief on Penang’s evolving transport situation and disputes

The goal of this internet platform and associated social media sites then  is to support legitimate sustainable transport initiatives, critical thinking, open discussions, new ideas, consistent policy, fruitful alliances and fact-oriented discussion and anything else that might help advance the public’s understanding of the New Mobility Agenda in Penang.  The watching brief also keeps a careful eye open to identify, feed and encourage public discussion of what are almost surely in this case poor science, bad ideas, absurd proposals and  ad hoc initiatives which violate the basic precepts of the sustainability agenda.

A watching brief is a continuous, independent, and in this case open collaborative monitoring activity of progress and problems taking place in a specific sector or area. It takes a arms-length vision of the focus area and in this case is made broadly available to the public and all involved as a tool in support of Civil Society in Penang.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

OP-ED. SOMETHING HAS GONE TERRIBLY WRONG IN PENANG.

     CORE PROBLEM – Lots of SOVs and little else

How SRS Penang Transport Master Plan deviates from original Halcrow recommendations

JULY 25 — This is the second article in a series to explain why the Penang government should review the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). – By Dr Ahmad Hilmy, and Dr Lim Mah Hui . Orignal article appeared at https://www.malaymail.com/…/how-srs-penang-transport-master…

Not many people realise how far distorted the current version of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), undertaken by a Gamuda-led corporate consortium, is from the original PTMP adopted by the Penang government in March 2013.

The original, prepared by renowned UK-based engineering consultant Halcrow, aims for a holistic approach to solving Penang’s mobility and transport problems, adopting a paradigm shiftby moving people — not cars. It aims to make roads safe and user-friendly for all, especially pedestrians, cyclists and the physically disadvantaged.

Continue reading

Archives: Brainstorming the Penang Transport Master Plan(s)

Penang MP Poster top illustrationDraft introduction: Welcome to a collaborative thinking exercise inviting  any and all who may have some questions about the focus, the vision and in the end the quality of future mobility services as being proposed and aggressively pushed by the state government of Penang. The central instrument for this group investigative process is a group of poster illustrations which combine simple images and a few telling words in order test our understanding of the Penang Transport Master Plan — all this as  prepared for the recent Gertak Sanggul Art Festival by Kin Yin and a group  of young collaborators (who will be identified shortly in the final section of this first presentation).

Continue reading