Why are NGOs starving Penang from growth? — Daniel Ng Hin Yip

MAY 22 — Before GE14, I was part of a team tasked to build a Smart State Master Plan (Smart City) for Selangor.

Eleven months of pro-bono work followed by 24 months of providing consultation to the state government.

My professional life and voluntary work have taught me that a well-developed state needs a combination of three ingredients; a visionary framework, a robust infrastructure, and strong community engagement.

These are the basic requirements for a state to grow. Recently, I notice that Penang is gearing up for such progress.

Penang’s Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s Penang2030 vision that aims to transform Penang into “A Family-Focused, Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation” is a visionary framework.

The Penang South Reclamation and the Penang Transport Master Plan are the infrastructure. The Penang state government’s openness to engage the community is the last ingredient. Penang is on its way to grow.

This is why, in my opinion, the NGOs are pulling Penang back with their protest against the plans launched by the Penang state government.

In the last decade (2008 — 2018), Penang was at the different political fence from the Federal. Funding from the central government came in short. Only RM216 million or 3.8 per cent of the overall fund transfered from federal to all states in 2016.

The lack of federal support means that Penang is pretty much on its own. That’s why whenever I’m back to Penang, I feel sorry for the state. Penang has been a state that has always been left behind before GE14.

I can see that the Penang state government is working very hard to improve the state. The leadership is doing their best to move Penang forward. The NGOs, however, are stumbling block to the state’s progress.

Why are the NGOs opposing “a family-focused green and smart state”? Why are they stopping Penang from becoming a state “that inspires the nation”?

I believe the Pakatan Harapan state leaders are being socially inclusive in providing good public transport infrastructure for the mass, as planned in the Penang Transport Master Plan. Why are these NGOs continuously oppose to the plan that aims to “move people, not vehicles”?

Penang, like Selangor, is one of the states won by Pakatan Harapan since 2008. After a decade, the financial standing of the state is in good shape, with RM1.074 billion reserve and RM987 million revenue as of 2018. Penang has been governed sustainably.

Penang remains one of the most productive manufacturing centres in the country because leaders in the past had the foresight to develop the state and didn’t leave it as a swamp. Why are today’s NGOs trying to starve Penang from further growth?

I hope that these NGOs will stop. They should not prevent the future generations of Penang from being the inspiration of our nation!

* Daniel Ng Hin Yip is a social entrepreneur who travels frequently between Selangor and Penang.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.