The Penang Forum is a fluid and loose coalition of progressive public-interest civil society groups based in Penang, Malaysia.
We aim to promote participatory local democracy, sustainable planning and development, economic justice, affordable housing, environmental consciousness, sustainable transport, workers’ rights and heritage conservation.
A Steering Committee guides the direction of the Penang Forum coalition and organises events and campaigns. It is run in the spirit of consultation and consensus as a collective without a permanent secretariat. No one group or individual dominates the coalition.
Periodically, the group organises a major event – Penang Forum – which brings together Penang-based civil society groups and concerned individuals to discuss issues of importance to the state and then highlights these to the Penang state government. The first Penang Forum was held in 2008, soon after Pakatan Rakyat, an opposition alliance, wrested control of the state from the Barisan Nasional.
The genesis of the Penang Forum can be traced to the Pesta Rakyat Merdeka event in 2007, organised by Penang-based civil society groups to mark the 50th anniversary of Merdeka. The cooperation among these NGOs was further strengthened through their involvement in the successful Anti-PGCC campaign in 2007-2008 to oppose the Penang Global City Centre project at the site of the Penang Turf Club.