Speech by YAB Chow Kon Yeow, Penang Chief Minister cum Chairman of Penang Green Council on 29 November 2018 during Green Pinang Awards 2018 at Sunway Hotel, Seberang Jaya
Good evening and welcome to Green Pinang Awards 2018.
Over the past 10 years, the Penang State Government has pledged to implement good governance and run its administration with its CAT (competency, accountability and transparency) policy. Penang has experienced a rapid rise, not only we maintain the record of the lowest debt state in our country, but also the record of the cleanest state. Penang is also the first state in our country to implement the policy of “No Free Plastic Bags Everyday”.
This year we are also the first state that announced that we will start the “No Single Use Plastics” initiative on 1 January 2019. Without the cooperation of leaders and people of Penang, this initiative will not be achieved smoothly.
With the help of Penang Green Council (PGC), the State Government is formulating the Penang Green Agenda which is meant to develop a framework and roadmap for Penang to move towards the greenest state powered by green economy by 2030. Currently, Penang is the third highest state in the country with green building area, which indirectly helps reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emission within the state.
The State Government is also taking a serious look into the landslide incident in Bukit Kukus recently. It is the main agenda of the State Government to prevent such identical events to occur again in the future. For that, the State Government will allocate RM10 million to hill slope repair works under the state budget for 2019.
To ensure a healthy green environment and sustainable development, the State Government has carried out tree planting activities for over the last 10 years. As we all know, as many as 363,665 trees have been planted in the island and 255,315 trees in the Seberang Perai area to date. In addition, the State Government intends to plant another 100,000 trees in the next five years to conserve the environment. In 2019, the State Government through both local authorities will allocate a total of RM5.2 million to conduct green programs.
The State Government through MBPP is building a waste transfer station with a cost of RM61.5 million in Batu Maung to improve hygiene and create a greener environment. The station which is capable of receiving up to 800 tonnes of waste per day will start operating from 1 December 2018.
Tonight, I would like to highlight an inconvenient truth that Penang is facing. We are in the midst of handling waste crisis in the state. We are running out of space for new landfills in the next 20 years, Penang could not afford any new spaces to be allocated for trash anymore. While we are pushing for the compulsory education in waste segregation at the Federal Level, public awareness must be followed by stern enforcement so that people will feel the pinch of waste issue. Starting 1 January 2019, the State Government will enforce the Waste Segregation at Source Policy on landed residential properties. We will also implement the separation of organic waste early next year.
The reduction of organic waste to the landfill will reduce methane gas generation. Diversion of food waste from landfill will also increase the state’s current recycling rate of 38 per cent, which is already the highest in the country.
This evening, I would like to congratulate the winners and recipients of Penang Green School Award, Penang Green Office Award, Penang Green Journalism Award, “No Single Use Plastics” Poster Drawing competition, Penang Rainwater Harvesting Incentive, and Food Waste Challenge Incentive. I also would like to thank the advisory committee and panel of judges.
Last but not least, I also would like to thank the sponsors such as Mah Sing Group, Pekat Solar Sdn Bhd and CITIZEN. CITIZEN is sponsoring grand prize for our lucky draw. Congratulation on your recent 100th anniversary!
We hope to inspire more people to work as an international and liveable city with a cleaner, greener, safer, and healthier environment for everyone in Penang.
Chow Kon Yeow