Archives: The struggle for local democracy in Malaysia

This is one of those special times for Malaysia when change and ideas are most  welcome. So there is hope and opportunity.  And it is one of those special times when change, even paradigm shifts are possible, and local governments given a new and more central place in the lives of our citizens. If we can together constructively, creatively and systematically build and add to the many promising initiatives , and if civic engagement leads an upsurge of citizen interest, we will surely see the emergence of an efficient, effective, equitable, democratic local government system in Malaysia that is socially, ecologically and economically sustainable.  And make a marked improvement in the quality of life of all Malaysians.
* Anwar Fazal, Penang. In Malaysiakini, 12 April 2001

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Bigger, Wider, Faster and More Roads for Penang . . . : Politicians, Engineers, External Costs (And you)

penang-save-the-trees-demontration-cap

What are the actual costs off building bigger, wider, fast and more roads for Penang: Let’s start by hearing two conflicting and in many ways typical opinions:

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World Streets International Advisory Council

ws-31jul12-hi-color

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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Op-Ed: A Properly Financed Transport Plan for the Long Haul

Penang highway from SRS MP

Project from SRS TMP at http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my/. “MOVING PEOPLE NOT CARS”

This official interview with state executive councillor for Local Government,Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Chow Kon Yeow has appeared at a good time as public discussions are gathering momentum with a growing range of no-political civil society organizations and NGOs asking that the state government reconsider the “Big Bang” project which they have developed by their consultants SRS consortium for an admitted total of RM46bil for a wildly ambitious construction program projected to handle the transportation requirements of the state for the next 50 years. (Other informed estimates set the taxpayer burden at close to 50% higher.)

It is our intention to comment on a number of points advanced by Mr. Chow in a follow-up article in the coming week. For your convenience, you will notice that the items to be discussed are identified by two asterisks and a number for your later reading convenience. We now invite you to enjoy Mr. Chow’s presentation.

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Question to members of Penang Transport Council reviewing and evaluating SRS master plan documents

Penang girl on bike - covered head

ON CYCLING:

CYCLING: We have been exchanging in our several group fora in support of the Sustainable Penang project thoughts about plans and actions in favor of more, better and safer cycling for all in Penang. And of course by this we mean specifically cycling for day to day transport, cycling for men, women and children getting from their particular A to B in all parts of Penang. (though it will be interesting as well to know of their coverage of leisure and touring cycling, etc.)

So, against this background we respectfully ask the following  . . .

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A Mayor’s-Eye View of Sustainable Transportation: Politics as the art of the possible

no excuses sir 2The letter that follows is, as you will quickly surmise, not an actual communication from one elected official in one case, but rather a composite, a distillation of experience that I have had over these last years of trying to push the sustainable transportation agenda in many parts of the world, almost always in conjunction and in dialogue with mayors and other city leaders.

As you will see, it is not that they are uniformly adverse to or not interested in the concepts behind sustainable transportation and sustainable cities. It is just that they have a great many other things on their mind, including staying on top day after day of the considerable challenges of managing their city — and, in not very long, running once again for reelection. This is the political reality of which those of us who would be agents of change must be aware, that politics is the art of the possible. Now let’s turn the stage over to our mayor: Continue reading

Other useful Sustainable Penang references

ffv sp excellent cover happy and running oeds

  1. MISSION: Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda homepage – https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/the-mission/
  2. PUBLIC ENQUIRY/Brainstorming report of Nov. 2013 – https://goo.gl/0BgurW
  3. FACEBOOK-http://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang
  4. TWITTER – https://twitter.com/SustainPenang
  5. LINKEDIN – https://www.linkedin.com/groups/5084715
  6. #BETTER PENANG at http://www.betterpg.com/
  7. S/P PUBLIC LIBRARY at https://goo.gl/gJTJZD
  8. CIVIL SOCIETY IN Penang (Draft for review) – http://wp.me/p3GVVk-om
  9. ONLINE 24/7 Open Town Hall Meeting (Vol. 1, 2) – https://goo.gl/DdWumT
  10. COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: penang@ecoplan.org. Skype – newmobility

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