Penang Forum – two years after March 8

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The Working Group for the Penang Forum is holding a public forum “Penang Forum 2” from 9.00am to 5.00pm at the Caring Society Complex along Jalan Utama on Sunday, 7 March.

The Penang Forum is an informal network of some 40 Penang-based NGOs and concerned individuals who came together in April 2008 to chart a possible way forward for Penang.

After the 2008 event, a Penang Forum Declaration was submitted to the state government calling for a new partnership with the Penang people based on the principles of popular participation, transparency, accountability, sustainability and social justice.

The government was also urged to set up mechanisms for civil society groups to meet with the government regularly. This would provide an avenue for these groups to provide input into policy making, monitor and provide feedback on these policies and help the government to resolve problems and conflicts if required. The NGOs also called for easy access to public facilities such as the Caring Society Complex and Dewan Sri Pinang for their public education activities and other events.

During 2008, working groups were set up to look into the Environment, Heritage, Transport, Women, Youth and Students, Persons with Disabilities, Labour, the Arts, Local Government, Health and Goodwill..These groups came up with recommendations that were presented to the State Government in March 2009. See the Penang Forum website for their reports.

The Pakatan Rakyat has now ruled Penang for two years. What has changed during that period? What has the new Penang State Government achieved or has it lost its way? Are there obstacles we don’t know about? What are the constraints arising from our centralised federal system? What about the budget for Penang? Has the government attempted to improve the quality of life in areas such as public transport and traffic congestion, affordable housing, recreational facilities, accessibility for the disabled, environmental protection and gender equality? What has become of the Local Plan? How has the government responded to calls for local government elections? What about problems faced in Seberang Perai, which the 2008 forum neglected to address? These are some of the issues that will be discussed at the 2010 forum.

The idea behind all this is not simply to organise yet another forum, but to couple this with popular consultation and participation on the issues that matter. In this regard, the future direction of Penang is not only dependent on lobbying the government of the day but in seizing the opportunity to outline and promote a vision of the Penang we desire.

Hence, we invite all Penangites to participate, share their views and make suggestions to realise this vision for Penang. Those interested should contact 04-6585251 or [email protected] to register. (Registration fee is RM10, senior citizens and students, RM5.)

The Working Group for the Penang Forum 2 is drawn from representatives of the following groups: Aliran, Jerit Penang, Malaysian Nature Society, Penang Heritage Trust, Penang Transport Council, Persatuan Orang Cacat Anggota Malaysia (Pocam), Sustainable Independent Living and Access (Sila), Suaram Penang and Women’s Centre for Change. Representatives of more Penang-based NGOs are expected to be present at the event proper on 7 March.

The Penang Forum Working Group

Programme

Penang Forum 2: Has Anything Changed After 2 Years?

Sunday, 7 March 2010, Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang,
Organiser: Penang Forum Working Group

8.15-9.00am – Registration

9.00-9.10am – Welcome

9.10–10.40am – Overview of the Challenges

Chair: Ahmad Chik

Federal-State relations: Francis Loh
Budget and Economy: Lim Mah Hui
What has been Achieved: Lim Kah Cheng
Missed Opportunities: Anil Netto
Open Discussion (30 mins)

10.45-11.15am – Coffee Break

11.15-11.45am – The Penang Forum Experience: James Lochhead

Chair: Loh-Lim Lin Lee Open Discussion (15 mins)

11.45-12.30pm – Transport: A Case Study: Ahmad Chik

Chair: Laurence Loh Open Discussion (30 mins)

12.30-2.00pm – Lunch

2.00-3.00pm – Seberang Prai Issues

Chair: Kris Khaira

Housing and Flooding: Sarajun Hoda
Environment and Youth: (to be confirmed)
Development and Labour: T Jayabalan
Open Discussion (20 mins)

3.00- 4.00pm – Local Democracy & Local Plan: Peoples’ Involvement

Chair: Loh CK

Opportunities for Local Democracy: Lim Kah Cheng
Examples of Local Democracy in Selangor: Ong Jing Cheng
The Penang Local Plan: Goh Ban Lee
Open Discussion (20 mins)

4.00-5.00pm – Moving forward

Facilitators: Soon Chuan Yean and Prema Devaraj

Group Discussion (30 mins)
Open Discussion (30 mins)

5.00pm Tea and Close

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Iron

1. Why only the 40 NGOs?

2. What if others want to join, can they?

3. The agenda, are they self-serving?

4. In what way can those 40 NGOs represent the rakyat in Penang?

Yang

Penang 2 years after March 8 is better off than 5 years before. No need to elaborate, everyone else can see it very clear.

Thinesh

Great work. Hope it really opens people’s eyes and galvanises the state and Federal Goverments to do more

Richard Loh

I am not able to attend this forum but will try to.

I am a Penangnites, (Penang lang) and these are my views and suggestions :

Penang, 2 Years Under Pakatan Rakyat Government

Fire Melts Iron

Agree with you absolutely! I think under the prevailing circumstances, PR had done well, very well, I can see a cleaner Penang, I can see a more transparent Penang, more accountability, competency! This is proven by their ability to turn budget deficits into surplus, if under BN, if they project deficit of 200 million, be prepared that it will end up with 500 million. Figures provided by the AG’s office cannot lie! I support competency, accountability, transparency! I support non racial politics, I support fight against corruption, I support better education, I support fight against crime and better security for… Read more »

Gerakan K

You can shout and beg there but nothing will materialize as the “menu” already prepared in Lim mind. This is just another political “sandiwara” to show they care for people. I will better sit back and enjoy that holiday.

Yang

No you don`t need to shout or beg. You need to put in good & concrete proposal not rubbish. Who say LGE do not listen. He has say Yes to local Council election.