2014 Penang State Government Christmas Message By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 24.12.2014.
This Christmas is a most challenging one as it forces Malaysians to choose between two groups, one comprising politicians and opportunists against another group comprising political leaders and statesmen. The former take the easy way out by spewing out hatred and lies to preach extremism and racism whilst the latter takes the difficult approach of adopting the straight line by advocating moderation, justice, freedom and democracy.
Non-Muslims and moderate Muslims have courageously stood together for moderation against forces of extremism. For the fight for moderation over extremism to succeed, we need to show that justice only has meaning when there is also justice for the poor, voiceless, ill and the weak.
Freedom is not limited to freedom of the arts or expression but only exists when every person has the freedom of opportunity to fully realise their potential and be the best they want to be. Democracy does not work when it is restricted to holding elections once every five years when we elect our leaders but is continuous daily and includes local government elections, not just state assemblyman or Members of Parliament.
Penang must prosper to prove the success of embracing moderation together with justice, freedom, and democracy as a basis of good governance. This year our investment figures of RM6 billion for the first nine months of 2014 have exceeded the RM3.9 billion for the entire year of 2013. Since PR took power in 2008, Penang has attracted investments of RM40 billion for the 6 year period between 2008-2013, which is 90% higher as compared to RM21 billion for the corresponding period between 2002-2007.
Income inequality has improved by comparing Penang’s Gini Coefficient that has improved by 12% from 0.42 in 2009 to 0.37 in 2012. Penang has also dealt with the twin challenges of providing adequate affordable and public housing. In fact Penang PR state government’s efforts has resulted in Penang as the only state in Malaysia offering an almost adequate amount of low-cost housing proportionate to its population. The Malaysian average if 5.5% while Penang is at 13.15% of low-cost unit over total population.
Finally, even though the Federal government’s stubborn refusal to fulfil its promise to establish a public transport network or even approve the state government’s application for a license has once again broken its promise and contributed towards severe traffic congestion. The unexpected positive feedback to Penang state government’s RM 27 billon Penang Transport Master Plan has however given some optimism that a solution may be in sight.
LIM GUAN ENG