Declaration (2008)

of the Penang Forum to the Penang State Government

We, the Penang NGOs, community groups and concerned individuals who participated in the Penang Forum of NGOs on 13 April 2008 at Disted College, hereby declare:

i. We congratulate the Pakatan Rakyat coalition on its victory in the 12th General Election and welcome the opportunity to work with the current Penang State Government to further good governance of our state.

ii. We call upon the Penang State Government to establish a new partnership with the Penang people, to be based on the principles of participation, transparency, accountability, sustainability and social justice. The general principles and the basis for the partnerships can be found in the 1999 Sustainable Penang Initiative and the United Nations’ Local Agenda 21.

iii. We call upon the Penang State Government to establish a mechanism for civil society to meet with the government on a regular basis, at least once every three months, so that civil society will have an avenue to raise issues, make input into policy-making, monitor and provide feedback on the implementation of those policies, and help the government to resolve problems and conflicts if required, whenever these arise.

iv. We further call upon the Penang State Government to make financial and other resources available to NGOs and other civil society groups. Specifically, we wish to have easy access to public facilities like the Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang, Dewan Sri Pinang, Town Hall, Balai Rakyats, auditoriums in public libraries, and public fields, in order for us to conduct our activities, especially public educational programmes, for the various communities in Penang.

v. As a follow-up to this Forum, we shall be establishing ‘issue-based working groups’ comprising NGOs and concerned individuals, which will detail some plans of action on a variety of issues affecting Penang, to be submitted to the State Government.

vi. In this regard, we call upon the Penang State Government to grant us access to the necessary data and information so that the proposed plans of action will address the concerns accurately, yet comprehensively.

vii. Finally, we urge the new Penang State Government to regard this engagement with civil society as an opportunity to develop a collective commitment to the improvement and future sustainability of our State. Working together, this commitment can contribute towards a longer-term development strategy for Penang which

  • stresses a balanced, integrated and sustainable approach to planning, wherein attention is given not just to physical development but to the economic, social, cultural, psychological and environmental consequences of development too;
  • empowers communities in Penang to participate in decisions which affect them, paying special attention to the inclusion of marginalised groups, including women, workers, youth, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, the less affluent, rural communities, migrants and refugees, so that democracy can be enhanced and social justice achieved promoted.

13 April 2008

NGOs Represented at the Penang Forum on 13 April 2008

2. Amnesty International (AI)
3. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
4. Academy for Socio‑Economic Research and Analysis (ASERA)
5. Centre for Malaysia Chinese Study
6. Citizens for Public Transport Coalition (CEPAT)
7. Disted College
8. Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
9. Food Not Bombs (FNB)
10. Green Crusaders
11. Jaringan Utara Migrasi dan Pelarian (JUMP)
12. La Salle Learning Centre
13. Lions Club of Georgetown Perdana
14. Little Penang Street Market
15. Malaysia Information Network for the Disabled (MINDS)
16. Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
17. Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Penang
18. National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), Penang Branch
19. Noise Performance House
20. Ombak Arts Studio
21. Pan Pacific South East Asia Women Association, Penang Chapter (PPSEWA)
22. Penang Environment Working Group (PEWOG)
23. Penang Heritage Trust (PHT)
24. Penang Office of Human Development (POHD)
25. Penang Players
26. Persatuan Penduduk Taman Pauh Jaya
27. Pusat Khidmat Pekerja Tanjung (PKPT)
28. Pusat Komuniti dan Alam Sekitar (CENCED)
29. Society for the Disabled
30. Socio Economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI)
31. Students Progressive Front (SPF)
32. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Penang
33. Sustainable Independent Living Access (SILA)
34. Tanjung Bungah Resident’s Association (TBRA)
35. Temple of Fine Arts (TFA)
36. Tenaganita
37. Wanita Jamaah Islah Malaysia (WJIM)
38. Wawasan Open University (WOU)
39. Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Penang
40. World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA)