Speech by Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng at Penang Investment Promotion Seminar
Increasing Available human talent manpower, resolving traffic gridlock, supplying adequate affordable housing and making Penang clean, green, safe and healthy will be crucial towards realising penang’s aspirations as an international and intelligent city. According to the World Bank, in order to reach our goal of becoming a high-income nation, Malaysia will need to continue building skills and institutions that will support further diversification towards higher productive investments through improvements in human capital.
For this reason, the Penang government has crafted the Penang Paradigm, a 10-year development blueprint from 2013-2023 that is focused on economic vibrancy, liveability, sustainability as well as social development and inclusion. The Penang Paradigm aims to achieve these goals by focusing on five thrusts:
combatting poverty and socio-economic inequality;
ensuring environmental sustainability;
attracting, training, retraining and retaining human talent;
democratic empowerment; and
implementing good governance.
Socio-economic inequality is now widely believed to be an impediment to economic growth. In the last five years, we have become the first state in Malaysia to institutionalise annual financial assistance programmes for the poor and marginalised, such as senior citizens, the disabled, students as well as single mothers.
This year, Penang will become the first state in Malaysia to eradicate poverty altogether by ensuring a minimum household income of RM770 a month, which is higher than the national Poverty Line Indicator (PLI) of RM763 a month. Any household with less than RM770 a month will receive a “top-up” payment every month from the State Government.
Secondly, it is critical to ensure that all development is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Penang’s success in moving towards becoming the first green state in Malaysia is widely acknowledged from being the only state in Malaysia to have no free plastic bags and shopping centers to recording the highest recycling rate in the country at 26%.
Thirdly, while the last century was driven by the race for resources, this century will be driven by the race for talent. The state government has adopted a 3-prong approach to build human talent through annual allocation of funds to schools, attracting top universities for top students and establishing Penang Learning Centers to provide remedial teaching for academically weak students to create a rising tide effect to benefit the largest pool of students possible.
Fourthly, a society can only progress if it is democratically empowered where Penang respect basic freedoms and human rights. Last but not least, a most vital aspect of ensuring equitable growth and prosperity is good and clean governance through our famous CAT governance of Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT). Through CAT governance, we became the first state to implement open competitive tenders and public declaration of assets of EXCO members and Chief Ministers.
This has translated into surplus budgets every year since 2008, reducing our state debts by 95 per cent and increased our state assets by 50% over the last five years. Transparency International has praised Penang State for having a clean government that fights corruption and practice open tender.
In summary, Penang has adopted five implementation measures:
Wiping out poverty and reducing the socio-economic gap.
Implementing green policies to achieve environmental sustainability.
Developing, attracting and retaining the required human capital in order to compete globally.
Empowering the people through democratic processes.
Fighting corruption and cronyism through good and clean governance.