Penang’s Clean Governance Revolves Around Benchmarking Government Decision-Making Against CAT And Formulating A System Of Institutions Built Around The 6 Integrity Measures Of Fighting Corruption That Can Both Strengthen Democracy And Sustain Socio-Economic Justice.
I would like to begin by congratulating the Penang Institute for bringing to Penang another ASEAN great. It is not every day that a former head of state visits our island, and what’s more the former President of Indonesia. On behalf of the Penang state government, I wish to warmly welcome His Excellency Dr BJ Habibie, the third President of Indonesia, for his first ever visit to Penang.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Penang is proud to play a small role in forwarding and strengthening the regional effort towards clean governance through initiating the ASEAN Coalition for Clean Governance. Last June, Penang was honoured to host a regional conference featuring prominent advocates of clean governance from around the region. Our keynote speaker, His Excellency Abhisit Vejjajiva, former Prime Minister of Thailand, pointed out in his speech that “it is not enough to put our own houses or our countries in order. ASEAN will only be as strong as our weakest link.”
During the inaugural conference last June, the delegates from around the region produced a document called the Penang Declaration, which among other things affirms that “the ideals of truth, freedom and transparency should be universally embraced and that the ASEAN people deserve the right to enjoy the essential values of a good, clean and efficient government that dignifies, engages, safeguards and delivers the aspirations of the people.”
Penang aspires to be the clean governance capital of the region, but we do not want to be the sole holder of the title. We hope to see as many capitals of clean governance as possible all across ASEAN. After all, while Penang may be known for exporting electronic products, we should aspire to export clean governance in the future.
Clean governance can be attained by practical application and a system of institution-building. Penang’s CAT administration of competency, accountability and transparency and 6 integrity measures to establish clean governance that can both strengthen democracy and sustain socio-economic justice.
Penang’s clean governance revolves around benchmarking government decision-making against CAT and formulating a system of institutions built around the 6 integrity measures of fighting corruption that has won praise from Transparency International of making a public declaration of assets, implementing open competitive tenders, bar family members from being involved with government contracts, protect genuine whistleblowers, remove leaders with extravagant lifestyles and come clean on political donations.
The clean government initiatives have strengthened democracy and sustained socio-economic justice as seen by these achievements:-
1. Penang became No.1 in investment in Malaysia for the first time in our history in 2010. We repeated that again in 2011, proving that our success was no fluke but a fact. Penang contributed 28% of Malaysia’s FDI during those 2 years. 10 days ago Agilent Technologies announced a USD 200 million investment and B. Braun a RM1.75 billion investment in Penang;
2. Penang remains No.1 in medical tourism with 60% of total medical receipts. Penang was voted as one of the top 8 islands in the world you must explore before you die by Yahoo Travel. The George Town Heritage Festival and our efforts at heritage conservation has brought George Town back to life, with our mural painting on the walls of old shop houses gaining international recognition. The tourism sector has grown with the capacity of Penang International Airport reaching the new capacity of 5 million passengers a year by next year. There has to be a new expansion project immediately upon completion of the Airport next year;
3. The yearly record budget surpluses and 95% reduction in state government debts that was commended by the Auditor-General’s Report;
4. Building intelligence with emphasis on science and technology through Penang Tech Centres, providing free wifi in public places and attracting a world-class university assisted by Smith College, the top women’s college in USA;
5. Allocating RM500 million for the Penang Affordable Housing Programme to build 18,000 units throughout the state including the island, the largest amount by any state government. To ensure quality affordable housing, HDB Singapore has been appointed to ensure that good quality public housing in Singapore will also be available in Penang. 12,000 units of public housing has been built over the last 5 years, 4,000 units by Penang Development Corporation and 8,000 units by the private sector;
6. Spending RM100 million in cash to the people under the various “golden” programmes to senior citizens, disabled, single mothers, public university students, new parents, primary and secondary school children as well as annual allocations to Sekolah Agama Rakyat, Chinese and Tamil schools;
7. Becoming the first state in Malaysia to wipe out hard-core poverty in 2009 and will become the first in Malaysia to wipe out poverty by 2013 under the Equitable Economic Agenda or Agenda Ekonomi Saksama(AES). As the poverty line indicator is RM763 per month for every household, Penang can only be free from poverty if every family is assured of receiving RM770 per month.To ensure every family gets RM770 per month, the state government will make up the shortfall monthly. In other words, if a family gets RM600 per month, the state government will top up with RM170 every month – not every 5 years or every 50 years;
8. Implementing democratic reforms such as the setting up the first Speakers Corner in Malaysia, passing the Freedom of Information and the Penang Local Government Elections Enactment to provide for freedom of speech and information as well as the 3rd vote to strengthen grassroots democracy;
9. Respecting Islam as the religion of Penang and freedom of religion by increasing allocation funding, land and setting up Majlis Syura and the non-Islamic Religious Affairs EXCO portfolio to manage matters relating to non-Muslims. No tokong, kuil and surau has been torn down except for one Hindu shrine by the Federal Government’s Penang Port Sdn Bhd(PPSB). Instead the Kek Lok Si Temple and Murugan Waterfall Temple was finally opened during the PR state government.
10. Spending 55% more on development infrastructure than the previous government in building roads on the island and the mainland, futsal courts, public halls, Syariah courts and drainage. Proposing major infrastructure projects such as the 3rd link of a sea tunnel between Gurney Drive and Butterworth as well as revitalising Komtar and a new exhibition and convention centre in sPice at PISA. There will also be a new exhibition and convention centre to be announced next week.
11. Becoming the first to adopt green initiatives such as no free plastic bags, banning polystyrene bags, no-smoking zones, creating more public parks and bicycle lanes, car-free Sundays and achieving a recycling rate of 26 % this year when the national target is 20% by 2020;
12. Making George Town the most livable city(according to ECA International) for the first time in Malaysia in 2011 and repeated again in 2012
Failure to establish integrity in politics and clean government is “corrosive of democracy”. The electoral process is meaningless when citizens have no faith in government integrity or ethical measures because the choice between competing policies and programs is irrelevant when there is no expectation such policies will be carried out,”
The Western debt crises that have erupted in both Europe and the United States can be said to be due to irresponsible corporatocracy, to borrow Jeffrey Sachs’s word, or simply financial pirates who take advantage of the system in order to enrich themselves. In this context, we can safely say that that had strong, prudent and responsible fiscal institutions been in place, and had its regulations been enforced meticulously, the crises would not have had the impact it has had today.
Therefore, it is imperative that countries all over the world work together to put in place the proper mechanisms to ensure that public institutions are able to provide clean, accountable and transparent interaction within and between governments, markets and society. This is especially critical for us in Southeast Asia. Since the end of the colonial era, most ASEAN countries have been ruled by authoritarian regimes which have undermined public institutions.
However, the last two decades have witnessed a radical shift in the region. Indonesia, after half a century of authoritarian rule, witnessed a tectonic transformation into one of the most democratised countries in ASEAN. In the Philippines, a corrupted regime was replaced by a political campaign focussed on anti-corruption as its central message. Meanwhile, Myanmar is currently undergoing drastic changes as the junta attempts to pacify the people’s growing thirst for democratisation. Even the Singapore government was dealt their biggest electoral blow since independence. Finally, Malaysia has not been spared as well, though our biggest battle is yet on the horizon.
As we can see, ASEAN is a region in transition, and coupled with the global economic currents, the fate of our countries depends very much on how we are able to salvage and rebuild our public institutions in order to ensure that our core institutions such as the judiciary, executive, legislative, financial as well as electoral system are functioning efficiently, transparently and with full accountability. Only strong and clean public institutions can ensure that we are prepared for the challenges of this new century.
Therefore, the next phase of development in our region will require an undivided commitment towards clean governance. We must ensure that the poor and the weak are not marginalised because public institutions are manipulated to serve the interests of the rich and the strong. We must ensure that the wealth of the country can be enjoyed by all our citizens, not just the privileged few. We must ensure that the public delivery system delivers both efficiency and equality so that businesses may flourish and social justice is ensured. We must ensure that integrity is rewarded and corruption is punished so that no one including the highest leadership of the country is enriched from wrongful gains.
We know this effort towards clean governance is not easy. The corrupt cronies are strong but let us prove that honesty and people’s power is stronger.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Finally, we are indeed honoured today to have President Dr BJ Habibie with us to deliver this second ACCG Leaders’ Lecture. His presence here is encouraging to all advocates of clean governance and represents another step forward for the ASEAN Coalition for Clean Governance.
With that, I welcome all of you to this auspicious event. Your participation is important to ensure not just the success of this programme but the success of our ultimate objective to implement and promote clean governance.
1. 槟州在2010年的所获投资额全马居冠。2011年再创高峰，证明我们的成功不是侥幸的。过去两年，槟州的外国投资额占全马28%。10天前，美国安捷伦科技宣布投资2亿美元、B.Braun 医药股份公司宣布投资 17亿5000万令吉；
5. 拨出5亿令吉给槟州可负担房屋计划，在州内各地兴建1万8000个单位，破了各州政府的记录。为了确保可负担房屋的素质，我们委任新加坡建屋局为顾问 ，确保槟城也有像新加坡那样的高素质公屋。过去5年，我们已经建了1万2000个公屋单位，槟州发展机构建了4000个，而私人界建了8000个;
7. 2009年．槟州成为第一个扫除赤贫户的州属。在经济平等议程下，我们希望能在2013年成为第一个扫除贫穷户的州属。为了确保每户家庭每月收入达770令吉，州政府将会每个月“加额”，换句话说，如果一个家庭月入只有600令吉，那么州政府会另外每个月“补贴”170令吉 － 不用等到每五年，或每50年;
10. 我们比前朝政府花费多55%来筑路、室内5 人足球俱乐部、民众会堂、伊斯兰法庭、排水系统。我们也建议兴建第三通道，在关仔角及北海之间兴建海底隧道、复兴光大、在湖内体育馆兴建新的国际会展中心sPICE。下个星期我们会再宣布另一个新的会展中心。