Penang Forum calls for greater dialogue on pressing issues of the day


Update: A message from Judy Cheng-Hopkins: Yayyy! PF is ready to come out of its group-thinking cocoon! A new day, a new beginning: Malaysians have decided on ‘The Malaysia We Want’, now Penangites can start a dialogue in earnest on “The Penang We Want”. HK or Costa Rica? (See my piece) or something in between? Time for all sides to rethink and reach out, and leave the baggage behind! JCH

A few statements from Penang-based civil society groups, Aliran, Penang Forum and the Consumers Association of Penang in the wake of the recent general election.

Aliran statement: Power to the People

Penang Forum and CAP statements (below)

Penang Forum calls for greater dialogue on pressing issues

Penang Forum congratulates the Pakatan Harapan governments—both state and federal—on their success in winning the general election. We also offer our heartfelt congratulations to YB Chow Kon Yeow on his appointment as Penang’s Chief Minister.

As we usher in a new era for the nation, listening to the new Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad putting the rule of law above all else, we anticipate, with hope, governments that will place priority on upholding good governance, respecting institutional processes and independent checks and balances, and being responsive to public and civil society participation, both at the federal and state levels.

We call on the incoming federal and state governments to seriously tackle urban and rural poverty and the wide socio-economic disparities in our society. We appeal to all elected representatives to jointly work for the empowerment and welfare of the people, and to set aside their personal and party interests in making decisions that will have an impact on people’s lives not only now but also in the future.

In this regard, we call for a halt to the destruction of our environment and for the care and rehabilitation of coasts and hill slopes that have been neglected, compromised or destroyed.

The new government must put an end to crony capitalism and wage a war on corruption, particularly when it involves senior politicians and government officials. We hope there will be a reversal of the concentration of powers at the top of executive government both at state and federal levels.

To promote greater participatory democracy and accountability at the local level, we call for the revival of local council elections throughout the nation.

As for Penang, we reiterate civil society’s desire to engage with the state government on the pressing issues of the day and development plans for the state. Now that the state is likely to have greater access to federal funding, there is an urgent need to review the Penang transport masterplan (which should promote sustainable mobility, moving people not cars) and reevaluate the need for environmentally damaging large-scale reclamation plans.

There will also be less need to rely on property development as an engine to drive the Penang economy. Instead, we should focus on building more genuinely affordable housing for the people and raising the quality of life through the provision of adequate open green spaces.

We look forward to greater dialogue with the state government on these and other issues.

Penang Forum steering committee
14 May 2018

And the following is a statement by CAP:

MPs must work for people’s empowerment, welfare

Congratulations to Dr Mahathir Mohamad on his appointment as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. With his past long and varied experience in leading the country, he will be able to take Malaysia to greater heights and prepare the way for a smooth succession.

I thank God and congratulate the people of Malaysia for participating peacefully and responsibly in the democratic process to elect a new government and to accept the results of the election. We have set a good example for other countries to emulate, particularly those Muslim states that are still ruled by dictators and absolute monarchs. We should be proud of our achievement.

I thank the police and other government agencies for maintaining peace and order throughout the elections, when, sometimes, emotions were running high among the supporters of the candidates.

The transition of power from the former government to the present one was smooth except for one hitch, the unnecessary delay in the swearing in of the prime minister. The results were confirmed by the election authorities by 5am on Thursday but the swearing-in ceremony had to wait over 16 hours, until 9.30pm last night, after repeated postponements.

Mahathir was made to wait from 5pm until past 9.30pm at the Istana before the ceremony started. It must be remembered that he is the elected leader of the Malaysian people and he must be given due respect. The delay gave rise to unwanted fears, tension, speculation and adverse international publicity.

Our Constitution is crystal clear on the appointment of the prime minister by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He shall appoint a member of the House of Representatives who in his judgement is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the House. In exercising his judgement he can rely on the reports by relevant government officials.

In this case, there was no challenge to the request by Mahathir to be appointed as the Prime Minister, and his support from the majority of parliamentarians could have been easily verified within a short time. There is no requirement for parties in a coalition to agree on the appointment or, as happened in Selangor some years ago, to submit a list of candidates for the ruler to choose the Menteri Besar. The appointment of the prime minister must be done expeditiously in order to ensure continuity of government.

I call on the present government not to be obsessed with economic growth but to seriously address the issues of poverty and the growing disparity in our society, and the destruction of our environment to satisfy the greed for profits. It must put an end to crony capitalism and wage a war on corruption, particularly corruption among politicians and senior government officials. As the Arabic saying goes “A fish rots from the head down.”

I appeal to all elected representatives, both from the government and the Opposition, to jointly work for the empowerment and welfare of the people, and to set aside their personal and party interests.

SM Mohamed Idris is president of the Consumers Association of Penang.

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Take it easy, Penang Forum.
You have been pressuring the Penang government with hidden agenda.


CM first priority address the transportation issue


More free bus routes to encourage adoption of public transportation. Please also provide sheltered bus stops and walkway.


Free food housing and other peak better? Cheaper and more buses with bus lane better solution. Long distance buses are express bus with few stop overs. Allow interchanges Best introduce smart cards and can be used in all malaya.


Young generation now takes Grab because paid for by parents, convenience at a price.

BB resident

Butterworth can have a Digital Library, but Bayan Baru could not get its old library restored at Jalan Mayang?

Jasper Nei Nei

Komtar Cyber Library serves ~15K voters, while Bayan Baru with 70K+ voters no (‘eelek’) Cyber Library for almost a year now !
These Cyber Libraries were set up during Gerakan Days.
Bayan Baru reject Oh Tong Keong (Gerakan) to choose PKR’s Kumaresan Arumugam (son of former national iconic goalkeeper???). Kumaresan was YB Sim’s protege. Like his sifu, Kumaresan was chosen not on merit but voters went for party this time to punish BN.
Let’s have Margie’s Prayer that Kumaresan can get a library for BB residents. Personally I am doubtful but hope he can prove me wrong.


Kumaresan face on big billboard thanking voters, how about the long-awaited library at Bayan Baru?

Jack Tan

I refer to the call for local council elections. I do not agree on this. It will only lead to another tier of politicians,another round of elections and more unnecessary expenditure but not necessarily improving the quality of life for the people. It promotes overgovernment. We already employ government “servants” and they can easily carry out the necessary work provided they have good leadership and manpower which the State Government’s job to see to

Carlo Padini

Let Chow runs the government first for at least a year without interference. No need for local councillors first to add unnecessary cost, burden to rakyat when we should save money as priority.

Heng GS

Jack, agree with you. Such NGOs should run for GE14 with the manifesto for the rakyat instead of puttjbg pressurev on new elected gomen with own set of manifesto supported by voting rakyat the priority.


There are some very hardworking mca, gilakan and psm members good in roads and longkangs. They should be given opportunities to complete with ph to bring out the best in lower tier of gomen.


These former kuncu BN will compete with Penang Forumers for the councillors job?

Johan Khun Pana

For KL, they do not have state assemblyman or “ADUN”. Members of parliament are doing the duties of an Adun in KL. This is not fair for an MP . For many decades the KL ‘s member of parliament are hauling such extra burden . Rubbish, rats , dark streets , potholes etc. are not the job scope of an elected MP. The previous govt created FT minister. A full minister (un-elected as well) overlooking and lording over FT & KL. Maybe KL should have local election priority. It residents are satisfied that works are been done diligently then other… Read more »


Pressing issue of the say:

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng revealed that the previous government spent RM7 billion bailing out 1MDB.


hi, anil. thank you for your blog and highlighting penang’s environmental issues.

could you give me some insight on the direction penang would go with our new cm in place? i understand he has done a lot of work for dap but i don’t know what he’s like. essentially, i’m most interested to know if you think the rampant over-development of penang will now transform into something more sustainable and not so destructive? thank you and have a good day.


Write fast before Terence Netto beat you to it.

Heng GS

Terence related to Anil? Does Terence also look like Nichol David’s father?


Simple simon. You living on the island? Few wants to stay on mainland. Pg gomen should have one or two centres on mainland and with express buses running on busway connecting to georgetown


Mahathir: ‘Built-for-foreigners cities’ are not FDI

Pg Gomen, pls take note. Don’t just blindly follow Johor in the name of FDI portfolio. Penangites first.

Johan Khun Pana

It’s good to prepare early. But do wait patiently as your state govt is yet to decide on the line of exco. Yes, there is a high possibility the Local Election or election for the Town Mayor to be back by next year It is fair , just and appropriate to have an elected “Datuk Bandar”. Maybe the public forgotten all about implementing the IPCMC for the police dept. We might need that too. We all have to wait awhile, it is not fair for throwing all the demands onto Mahathir now. As i sees it, Mahathir is really doing… Read more »

Jennifer Mourin

Thanks for sharing – here’s hoping for more transparency, engagement and just processes!

Eric Thoo

pray for the revival of local election


No need to rush. There are many taking advantage of current situation, just because we have new CM.

Need to have a good process to screen the candidates, since the recent GE losers likely to create troubles. Remember we had so many mosquito parties at the recent GE.

Heng GS

Give CM Chow time to deliver. His past portfolio was on public transport, so I am confident he can make some positive changes to alleviate traffic jams. CM Chow used to mention the future of Penang is on mainland Penang, and we expect Batu Jawan and possibly Bagan Ajam to become significant township!


If you do not curb car ownership and make people take public busses, congestion on the road will not be solved by whatever plan from Penang Forum.


What has happened to Sia Boay plan?
Looks like in a lock down for more ghosts to inhabit.


Pg form and ah pek kau beh kau bu and complain to unesco. So which is which?

Jasper Nei Nei

Pg Forum be constructive no spoiler in new Malaysia era, PLS


Decentralisation. Regional centres. Today man are more mobile world shows population are moving to town centres. who wants to stay in a place with no or poor connection? How many pg formmers live in mainland? 95 or 100% Or you mean pg island forum? Those on mainland seberang forum?

Heng GS

Shriek hits jackpot here. First task new Malaysia era Penang Forum should change general public perception that it’s agenda being too island focus. You guys don’t want hill chopping, sea reclamation, so sooner new Industrial Revolution no land on island, and no preference on mainland Penang, and Penang Forum will then have to switch agenda to bring back Penang Talents not from Singapore but from Vietnam!
MNCs many relocating from expensive China to Vietnam, Samsung for example see link below

BB resident

The Video of Samsung Electronics mega factory in Vietnam shows that Malaysia can no longer be competitive in consumer product manufacturing. Hopefully the new government can kick start efforts in Industrial 4.0.

Jasper Nei Nei

That’s why Penang gomen past 2 years focusing on BPO (Biz Process Outsourcing). Mayang Mall now becomes a hub for BPO. The casualty is the cyber library which has to give way. The BB residents deprived a library for commercial sake. If YB Sim not careful to the needs of locals, he willl soon face same fate as Najib come GE15.


Swarovski jewelry has taken over the library space at Mayang Mall? Big signage.

End of the road for library hopefuls?