Penang Green Report Card-EN

Opening Speech By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng During The Launch Of The “Penang Green Report Card Roadshow” at Gurney Plaza On 19.3.2013

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

For Penang To Be No. 1 in Malaysia, We Must Also Be No. 1 in Green Initiatives That Makes Penang Cleaner, Greener, Safer and Healthier.

I am very pleased to be here today to officiate the “Penang Green Report Card Roadshow”, which presents the achievement of Penang PR government over the last five year.

Our vision is for Penang is to become an international and intelligent state – one that educates and nurtures talent; one that promotes and rewards diligence, expertise and entrepreneurship; one that is livable by being clean, green, safe and healthy; and one that practices integrity, justice and people-centric governance.

When we took over the State government five years ago, we recognize the importance of joining the global trend and efforts in making our community cleaner and greener, apart from an industrialized manufacturing hub, Penang must reposition ourselves as a green state to that we can improve Penang's liveability and the quality of life.

Penang became the first state in Malaysian history to launch a state-wide campaign to reduce plastic bag consumption.  On 1 January 2011, Penang has implemented “Everyday is No Free Plastic Bags”. Every individual can now contribute towards reducing their carbon footprints so that we can preserve our environment for the next generation.

This initiative has been emulated by the Federal Government, every Saturday is no plastic bags day nationwide. We faced tremendous attacks from the people who are not willing to give up the habits of taking free plastic bags and of course, the plastic manufacturers. This was not a popular decision, but we are willing to lose our popularity but not lose the next generation.

In promoting Zero Waste, Penang has banned the use of polystyrene boxes and plates in all official functions in 2009.  In 2011, Penang achieved a 24% recycling rate which exceeds the country’s targeted 20% rate for 2020. This means we are nine years ahead of time through the concerted efforts by the individuals, communities and authorities involved in 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and composting. We aim to achieve 49% recycling rate by 2018.

Used banners have been collected to turn into shopping bags. The state government also works with private sector and place food converters in markets such as Bagan Ajam and Bayan Baru. Starting 2013, public are encouraged to bring their own containers to the state open houses. 

Penang is also the first state to give incentives to developers who are certified by Green Building Index(GBI). We hope that all future development projects will also fulfil the requirements of GBI. Our rivers are used to be the most polluted rivers in the country, but we managed to transform Sungai Pinang and Sungai Juru from Class V to Class III.

On 1 April 2012, the last remaining rubber factory on the island — the Lee Rubber Co Pte Ltd in Paya Terubong — that was the biggest in Malaysia was closed down effective April 1 after operating for nearly 50 years. The residents in Paya Terubong have complaint about the smell from the factory over the past 25 years but what the previous government could not do in 25 years we did it in 4 years.

In order to further promote our green policies and facilitate all the green initiatives in Penang, we established the Penang Green Council (PGC) in 2011. PGC seeks to enable, empower and enrich all stakeholders to practice sustainable development that protects the environment and quality of life. In Malaysia, only Penang have a set of government driven incentive schemes that provides a platform for schools, business or private sectors that are genuinely promoting sustainable living to showcase their green products, services and technologies, and house-to-house education for the communities.

In creating low carbon sustainable environment, the state government has the state also provided free CAT bus services around the George Town heritage enclave at the cost of RM50,000 every month. We have also provided Bridge Express Shuttle Transit (Best) which are free shuttle services to and from between Seberang Perai, the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Area and Balik Pulau. The state government has allocated RM184,800 every month for 20 buses of Rapid Penang.

We are also seeking to take this thinking outside the box forward by offering Rapid Penang RM10 million every year to provide free bus services throughout Penang during peak hours but was rejected by the federal government. On 11 Dec 2011, Penang municipal council has launched Car Free day in George Town. The state government is also working on making Penang the first bicycle state in Malaysia with a total of 200km of bicycle lanes for both the island and the mainland, out of which, 120km is on the island.

For these green efforts, in 2012, Penang has been nominated as the first small city to join The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), an environmental initiative aligned to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). These are still baby steps as many aspects of environmental policies are the prerogative of the Federal government such as renewable energy. Therefore, we hope that we will able to formulate and implement more policies, rules and regulations that will bring greater benefit to our environment and people in Putrajaya.

We know for Penang To Be No. 1 in Malaysia, We Must Also Be No. 1 in Green Initiatives That Makes Penang Cleaner, Greener, Safer and Healthier