2012 Chinese New Year Message by Lim Guan Eng in George Town on Saturday, 21st January 2012:
2012 Chinese New Year Message
Putting Penang First - the RM500 million Affordable Housing Fund, the RM8 billion road projects and transforming Penang's civil service that is competent, accountable and transparent will help make Penang Cleaner, Greener & Safer
The year of the water dragon holds much promise of making Penang cleaner, greener and safer, which is essential to Penang's long-term vision of an international and intelligent state. To succeed the state government must retain the rakyat's faith in our ability and will as well as encourage their unique spirit of creativity and innovation.
Penang's unique spirit of creativity and innovation can be retained so long as Penangites maintains its faith in the government. Retaining the rakyat's faith is more about our ability and will to choose the best that can deliver and execute. It is much more about believing in common values of freedom, the rule of law, human dignity and democracy. It is about sharing the commitment of always putting Penang first over our own private interests.
There is a certain confidence in Penang, born of optimism and past achievement in our ability and will to choose the best. Penang has been praised by the Auditor-General for recording budget surpluses every year in state government finances. Most notable was saving Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai from bankruptcy afer RM230 million of losses in 7 years under BN. Another notable achievement was reducing our state government debts by 95% or RM600 million from RM630 million to only RM30 million.
More important than these achievements, is the optimism in the future stemming from proving that a clean, competent, accountable and transparent can also work and succeed in Malaysia. Open tenders, public declaration of assets and public disclosure of government contracts has brought about confidence and optimism resulting in praise from Transparency Internantional as well as record levels of foreign investments and tourists.
These improvements are meaningful when achieved with respect for each other as well as the institutions of freedom, rule of law and democracy. Respecting human dignity to speak freely and each other's differences fosters peace and harmony. Penang's ability to accommodate diversity has brought great pride to Penang, with the listing of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
However, present achievements are no guarantees for future success. Future success is only guaranteed when both the rakyat the state government is committed to putting Penang first over any private interests. Putting Penang first requires proof that prosperity is shared and solutions to problems are inclusive. If possible no one is left behind.
To ensure that the civil service performs well by serving the rakyat with quality, good governance of competency, accountability and transparency will be intensified to a higher level. There is no room for non-performance, delays, passing the buck from one department to another and corruption.
To deal with housing needs of the lower-income groups, the Penang state government has set up the largest affordable housing fund of any state government amounting to RM500 million. To deal with the traffic congestion caused by the sudden surge of investors and tourists, the government has outlined short-term, medium-term and long term plans of road infrastructure projects amounting to nearly RM8 billion.
Putting Penang First - the RM500 million Affordable Housing Fund, the RM8 billion road projects and transforming Penang's civil service that is competent, accountable and transparent will help make Penang Cleaner, Greener & Safer.
*Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister