Changing Penang in a Changing World (En/Cn)

Speech by The Honourable Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang At Foreign Correspondents Club, Hong Kong, June 17, 2011 : Changing Penang in a Changing World: Transforming Penang Into An International And Intelligent City.

Ladies and gentlemen thank you very much for inviting me here to speak. I come here as the Chief Minister of Penang, one of four states led by Pakatan Rakyat or the People’s Pact, the opposition coalition in Malaysia. I am from the Democratic Action Party, one of three coalition partners. I hope by the end of my remarks you will consider coming to visit and invest in Penang, as it continues to be an attractive location for business and pleasure alike.

It is wonderful to be in Hong Kong. We have so much in common; small states that have punched above our weight economically through the hard work and creativity of our people. Today, nearly a third of Malaysia’s exports come from Penang – more than half of the country’s electronics are produced there – and we are among the top tourist destinations in Malaysia with a record numbers of visitors. Like Hong Kong, we appreciate the importance of good food and open discussion. We both have worked hard to put ourselves on the map internationally, and done so successfully.

We both know that in order to progress, we need to adapt and transform. I have long admired Hong Kong’s adaptability and innovation, how it has managed to stay a leader in the financial sector and serve as a hub for economic growth in Northeast Asia. I am looking forward to learning more from Hong Kong and forging new ties here.

Penang has recently rebranded itself as a location of choice for investors and destination of choice for tourists. There are 7 key factors that accounts for our success as a location of choice for investors:-

1. Ready availability of human talent;
2. Effective and efficient supply chain management
3. Competent and reliable logistics and communications hub
4. Strong Intellectual Property protection
5. Good governance and effective leadership
6. Building creativity and innovation in science and technology, and
7. Livable city

For this reason, in our quest to be also the Software Valley knowledge-based economy, we are mindful of being a livable city and vibrant city. ECA International recently selected Penang as the 8th most livable city in Asia, on par with Kuala Lumpur. Penang is world-famous for our street food, KPMG International listed us as one of 30 global Business Process Outsourcing Centre for the future and a UNESCO World Heritage City for our outstanding universal value of cultural diversity and living heritage.

There are 7 elements of change towards retaining Penang’s premier position as the most livable and vibrant city in Malaysia that makes Penang the destination of choice for tourists.
1. public security and order with one of the lowest crime rates and political stability,
2. capable delivery of services and actively managing change,
3. economic vibrancy and competitiveness,
4. quality of life and diversity.
5. environmental friendliness and sustainability,
6. heritage conservation, and
7. intelligent city.

Branding for Penang is important that is synonymous with quality, reliability, safety, sustainability and integrity. But most crucial of all is equal opportunities for the young and talented to grow and fulfil their potential. We believe that this is the way forward for Penang to be both the sweat shop of the manufacturing and services sector and the smart shop for the future knowledge-based economy.

A Changed World:
In Penang, I have adopted measures to help Penang be prepared for the unknown within the confines that a chief minister can implement. For me, an accountant by training, I value the need to improve the state’s financial position with three years of consecutive surpluses and rescuing a local town council that lost RM230 million from bankruptcy.

A financial base is not enough, however. It is vital to strengthen the political institutions. Working with the civil service – often with mindful oversight and admittedly ups and downs– we have aimed to strengthen the institutions at the state level. The main thrust this has followed has been to engage broadly in civil society and provide feedback on policy.

The Penang state government is well aware of the need to revamp our infrastructure in order to maintain our competitiveness. All investment in Penang for infrastructure is by open tender. We look forward to having new investment partners, and richer collaboration. Here in Hong Kong we want the financial sector to understand the reasons we are an attractive investment location, namely a new commitment to economic revitalization and quality governance.

Global political realignment since 1997 has also taught us of the need to never put all of one’s eggs in one basket, to diversify. This is why in Penang, while we are deeply engaged in working with China and Hong Kong, we also are eagerly engaging Indonesia, India, Thailand and Singapore, our regional neighbors. I will also make a trip to India later in the year. Within Southeast Asia, the focus is not just on investment, but broadening tourism and cultural exchanges.

The need to anchor what we do in our people – to be people-centric. Everything we do as leaders should be driven by a desire to serve the people. Penang’s mantra from the day I took office has been the same – absolutely no corruption. None. We must create opportunities for everyone. The people must be served by having a government that protects their interests, rather than one that is self-interested.

Yet, for me, as a leader in office, I am concerned with the underlying worrying global trends that cannot be easily managed, the macroeconomic trends of inflation and jobless growth. This is my fifth point, the need to effectively manage globalization. Rising oil prices and rising incomes in China have contributed to inflationary pressures that are being felt throughout Asia. It is thus our responsibility as leaders to minimize these negative effects on our people.

Changing the World:
I am part of Malaysia’s fourth generation of leaders. Our success as fourth generation leaders will be judged by how we transform our countries and use our most important resource to develop – our people.

I am very proud to be a Malaysian, and everything I do is directed at making our country stronger and better. I have personally witnessed the struggle of ordinary Malaysians to make ends meet in these difficult uncertain times and the hardship that some families endure. My own family comes from humble means. When the politics in my country is full of personal attacks, many fabricated by newspapers that engage in storytelling of hatred, I draw strength from my knowledge that what I do is for Malaysia, for all Malaysians.

We cannot be locked in the past and allow the past to close off possibilities of a better future. Ladies and gentlemen, here in Hong Kong, when the 1997 turnover happened, you embraced a new future. In 2008, in Penang and other Pakatan Rakyat-run governments, we also embraced the future and we continue to do so.

Our Policy Direction
I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the concrete policy frameworks we are adopting in Penang. This foreshadows some of the ideas in the forthcoming Penang Blueprint from 2011 to 2015 which drafted by the state’s think tank Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute. From the onset we have recognized the need to think of new innovative approaches and ideas to move Penang and Malaysia forward, and welcome further inputs. Allow me to share some of the core ideas in the forthcoming Penang Blueprint. We have grouped them under the “Rs”:

The first point I want to emphasize is “Reviving Penang’s Livability” by being sustainable. Penang is the first green state in Malaysia. We are a living heritage city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and we have been working to promote and enhance our heritage monuments. In Penang, we led Malaysia in the introduction of green initiatives such as the “no plastic bag campaign” and we are actively exploring housing programs for lower income and middle class residents. One of our most challenging policy areas has been improving traffic and transportation. Next month in the Georgetown Festival of the arts highlighting dancing, film and cuisine. Artists know that Penang is a place where creativity is valued and showcased.

A parallel “R” is “Revitalizing the state’s business environment.” We are streamlining the process for permits and licenses to reduce the red tape. We have removed the biggest obstacle of all, the alleged payoff. We have created a special unit to support small and medium enterprises and upgrading infrastructure.

Let me highlight a third “R” – Reclaiming Responsibilities. We are introducing social safety net policies such as our program for the elderly at the state level. We have also empowered and energized the local councils, and the results are obvious to any visitor. Penang is cleaner and safer.

In summary join us in this exciting journey we are taking to change our world by transforming Penang into an international and intelligent city. What do we mean by an intelligent city? An intelligent city consists of:
a) human intelligence as the basic unit
b) collective intelligence on how we synergize and harness the individual intelligence together
c) digital intelligence to ensure broadband penetration for all
d) institutional intelligence so that government, private industry and NGO are “clever” enough not to drive away the best and brightest
e) integrity intelligence to avoid from being robbed by smart crooks; and
f) residual intelligence which Penang has the advantage of the experience built up from being exposed and interacting with top cutting edge technology companies over the last 40 years
Penang has all 6 intelligences what we need to reinforce and strengthen them and demonstrate a viable alternative towards a more successful Malaysia.

Steps toward Success
Ladies and gentlemen, I have shared with you some of Penang’s story, how we are going about changing the world in a changing world. We ask you to come to Penang, to see for yourself the success we are building.

LIM GUAN ENG

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槟州首长林冠英于2011年6月17日在香港外国通讯员俱乐部的演讲:在改变的世界中改变槟城,让槟城转型为国际及智能城市。

香港与槟城有很多共同点,槟城是一个小州属,但是凭着我们槟城人的努力与创意,创造出了对国家举足轻重的经济地位。当今整个马来西亚有三成的出口得依靠槟城,全国几乎一半的电子工业生产都在槟城,同时,槟城也是马来西亚其中一个最多游客的旅游胜地。就像香港,槟城人珍惜我们独有的美食,同时崇尚我们所拥有的言论自由。香港与槟城的努力,让我们双双成功地将自己摆在国际领域当中。

我们双方都知道,为了继续往前走,就必须要适应不断地革新。我非常钦佩香港的适应能力及创新,还有作为带领东北亚的金融中心及经济成长的枢纽。我要向香港学习的东西还多着呢,并希望能与香港缔造新的关系。

槟城目前正进行槟城品牌重新包装,成为一个投资者的福地及游客的旅游胜地。槟城能成为投资者的福地有以下7个重要因素:

1.现有的人才即战力
2.有效用及效率的齐全产业供应链
3.能干及可靠的运输及通讯枢纽
4.强而有效的智慧产权保护
5.良好施政与有效率的领导
6.打造科学与科技的创意与创新
7.宜居城市

因此,我们也有心要成为像加州软件谷式的知识型经济,同时兼具宜居与动力于一身的城市。国际人力资源研究及分析机构(ECA International)刚将槟城列为亚洲宜居城市的第8名,与吉隆坡齐名。槟城的街边小食闻名世界,KMPG国际机构也将槟城列为全球30个商业服务外包中心的未来据点之一。更重要的是联合国教科文组织因为槟城乔治市多元文化与其活古迹的杰出普世价值,而将我们列入为世界文化遗产城。

以下是让槟城保持着其作为马来西亚最适宜居住及充满动力的城市,并继续成为游客的旅游胜地的7个因素:
1. 良好的公共治安与秩序,使槟城成为犯罪率最低及政治最稳定的城市
2. 提供良好服务及主动变通的服务业
3. 充满动力与竞争的经济
4. 多元与富有品质的生活
5. 永续与友善的环境
6. 良好的古迹保护
7. 智能城市

“槟城”的品牌非常重要,“槟城”品牌就是品质、可靠、安全、永续及廉洁的同义词。最重要的是,槟城给予年轻一辈的人才一个平等的机会去发挥他们的潜能。我们相信这是槟城朝向生产与服务的劳力工业与未来知识经济精明工业兼具的正确发展之路。

已改变的世界:
在我首长的权限范围内,我尽量协助槟城如何准备迈向未知的未来。作为一个会计师,我协助槟城的州财政连续3年获得盈余,并拯救了亏损2亿3000万令吉,濒临破产的地方政府。

金融层面的该便是不够的,政治制度层面的强化更重要,公共服务体系往往是官僚僵化的,所以我们加强与公民社会的联系及征询大众对于政策的意见。

槟州政府深知维护公共设施以维持竞争力的必要,因此州内所有公共设施的投资都必须经过公开招标。因此,我们不断寻求投资伙伴及更丰富多样性的合作,这次来香港,我们要金融业者了解,为何槟城能成为吸引投资者的地方,及如何承诺经济振兴及进行良好施政。

1997年的全球政经经济重组之后,我们学到的教训就是不要把所有的蛋放在同一个篮子里头,所以要分散。所以,槟城目前不只与中国及香港联系合作,我们也与印尼、印度、泰国及新加坡等区域近邻联系合作。我将会在今年造访印度。在东南亚里头,我们不只要谈投资,但也要扩展我们的旅游业及文化交流。

我们要做一个以民为本的政府。作为一个领袖,我们所做的每一件事都应该以服务人民为前提。打从我上位的第一天起,槟城的标语丝毫没改变—就是绝对没有贪污,完全没有。我们要制造机会给每一个人。人民应该有一个可以保护他们利益的政府,而不是一个只顾自肥的政府。
然而,对我而言,身为一个在朝的领袖,我关注及担忧全球化及不易于我所控制的趋势,通膨及失业充增长等宏观经济的趋势。这是我要提的第五点,就是需有效地管理全球化。油价高涨及中国逐渐增高的收入,已经让亚洲感受到通膨的压力。身为领袖人,我们有责任把这些压力减至最低点,以不让人民承受负面的影响。

改变世界

我是马来西亚第四代的其中一名领袖。第四代领袖的成功的指标,将会以我们如何把国家转型、善用我们最重要人力人力资源来判断。
身为一个马来西亚人,我感到很骄傲。我所做的每一件事,都会直接让我们的国家更好、更强。我个人见证了一个普通马来西亚人在不确定时代的斗争,一些家庭也渡过了最艰难的时刻。我自己来自一个一般家庭。当我国的政治充斥着人身攻击,许多报章涉及捏造故事以制造仇恨,我就从我所拥有的知识中汲取力量,我知道我坚持走下去是为了马来西亚,为所有的马来西亚人。
我们不能再封锁在过去,允许过去关闭了一切迈向更美好未来的可能性。在香港,1997年时你们拥抱了一个新未来。在2008年,槟城及其他民联执政的州属,也同样地拥抱了他们的未来,我们也会继续下去。

政策的方向

我在此想与各位分享一些已在槟城采用的具体政策。这是我们州政府智囊团,也就是经济与环境究机构在草拟2011至2015年槟城发展大蓝图中的一些概念。 目前,我们已经确认了我们需要一些革新方案,以把槟城和马来西亚推向更高的层次。当然我们也欢迎更多的意见。
第一项我要强调的是以永续方式复兴槟城的宜居度。槟城是马来西亚的第一个绿州,我们也是一个活文化遗产城— 一个联合国教科文组织颁布的世界文化遗产城。我们经已很努力地促销及加强我们的文化遗产。在槟城,我们透过推介“无免费塑料袋运动”,成为马来西亚首个绿州。我们也推出了一系列的家庭计划供中下阶层居民。我们草拟政策上面对最大的挑战,就是提升及改善交通及道路系统。下个月就是我们的乔治市节庆,一个被舞蹈、电影和美食包围的节庆。艺术家们都知道,槟城是一个珍惜创意的地方。

此外,我们也要振兴州内的经商环境。我们把申请执照及准证的过程精简化以减少繁文缛节。我们更去除了投资的最大障碍,就是所谓的“回报”。我们制造了一个特别单位,以支撑中小型企业,并提升现有的基设。

另一点则是“回收责任”。我们正在推介社会安全网政策,如州级的乐龄计划,并授权和动员市议员等。任何的到访者都会发现到这显著的改变,现在的槟城已经更清洁、更绿化了。

我在此邀请各位,参与我们这个让人兴奋的改变世界之路,就是把槟城打造成为一个国际及智能城市。什么是智能城市?一个智能城市必需拥有以下的6项:
a) 人类智能作为最基本的单位。
b) 综合智能是槟城人管理、善用及结合个人智能的能力。
c) 通过加强宽频联系及渗透率拓展数码智能。
d) 体制智能- 确保政府、私人界及非政府组织遵崇法治,不会把最好的、最聪明的赶走;
e) 廉洁智能 – 确保廉正领导及零贪污,以防被聪明的骗子盗走。
f) 开创积累智能:槟城人自然地拥有过去40年电子电气工业发展的经验

槟城已经具有这6项智能 ,我们现在所需要做的, 是加强它们、展现出更成功的马来西亚可行的选择。

迈向成功

我已经与各位分享了槟城的一些故事,我们要如何在逐渐改变的世界中改变世界。我们欢迎你们到槟城来,亲眼看看我们是怎样建设这些成功的例子。

林冠英

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