2016 New Year Message By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 31.12.2015
2016 A Transformational Year For Penang
Penang is emerging as a national and regional hub for tourism, services and high-tech manufacturing. The continued investment by global companies into services and manufacturing shows the success of the state government’s emphasis on quality that focuses on high-value, high-tech and capital intensive rather than quantity that relies on labour-intensive that only results in foreign workers. Our focus continues to be on breeding innovation and entrepreneurship as catalysts for economic growth.
The influx of tourists during this holiday season is best epitomised by crowds at Penang Hill which broke the previous record of 1.36 million tourists last year and is expected to reach 1.5 million this year. Tourism in Penang may be a transformational year for 2016 with the completion of renewal projects worth hundreds of millions of ringgit on Komtar and Penang Hill. Many hotels have recorded an occupancy this year as good as last year despite the poor economic conditions and the tragic triple airline disasters involving MAS and Air Asia planes last year.
2016 holds out hope for a more promising year. However success bring its own problems with traffic congestion being the critical challenge. When the present Pakatan Harapan government won power in 2008, we identified 3 major challenges – cleanliness, crime and traffic congestion. We have succeeded against all odds in making Penang clean again and together with the police brought down the crime rate. However we need to work harder to make Penang the cleanest and safest state in Malaysia.
However traffic congestion can only be overcome if Penang is allowed to implement our RM27 billion Transport Master Plan(TMP), a five-in-one public transport solution involving LRT/monorail, ferry/water taxis, taxis, buses and cable cars. The TMP was undertaken at the Penang state government’s initiative following the failure of the BN federal government to fulfil its promises made 3 times in 8 years to build the LRT, but was never implemented.
Penang will be heading for a transformational year that will either help to resolve our traffic congestion problems or else proves whether the Federal government acts on national or the people’s interest but instead practices the politics of vengeance. The Penang state government regrets the political vengeance by some national federal agencies against the proposed land reclamation to finance the TMP, when they had previously made no similar objections against land reclamation approved by the previous BN Penang state governments or the tens of thousands of acres of land reclamation by other BN-controlled state governments.
Why do these federal agencies suddently express concern about affected fishermen when they have shown no such interest in the fate of fishermen when much more land reclamation was approved by the previous BN state government or other BN state governments? In fact the Penang fishermen received higher compensation under the present Penang state government compared to that offered by the BN state governments. Such hypocrisy is not only double-standards but also cruel and oppressive because it serves to deny and deprive the rakyat.
Penang will fight against those who seek to deny and deprive the poor from their fundamental economic rights to food, shelter, education and work. In seeking these fundamental economic rights, development must be sustainable and inclusive in an environment that is clean, green, safe and healthy.
LIM GUAN ENG
—- Mandarin Version —