Belanjawan Marhaen: A Budget For The Many
- “A budget for the many” is our value statement which reflects the core values of the Pakatan Harapan Penang state government. It is the ordinary people, the men and women on the streets, working families that we must take care of. We must futureproof our people’s lives so that they are not left behind in the new digital economy of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Our economic and performance record
- During the past 10 years, the economy in Penang has grown from strength to strength. When we first took over in March 2008 – almost 10 years ago – Penang was facing many uncertainties and the prognosis was not very bright. The Global Financial Crisis unfolded, the comparative cost advantage of Penang as a global manufacturing hub eroded and new investments was severely threatened by other emerging economies and China. Worse was to follow when the manufacturing industry was hollowed out with factories in Penang shifting to China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Services and tourism industry was in doldrums and there was a distinct lack of business confidence.
- Internally, the state administration was like an old diesel engine chugging along, sluggish and noisy. Spewing black smoke, it had all the symptoms of an inefficient and dirty The people finally decided to change the entire crew and the driver in the 2008 Election, bringing in a new batch of people who are inexperienced, but full of energy and new ideas, committed to reform. True, we had no experience in running a government, but we also had no experience in corruption.
- The new government launched Penang as an entrepreneurial and welfare state to revive the economy. The entrepreneurial state relies largely on collaboration between key stakeholders amongst the economic and social units, as well as the 3Ps partnership of the public sector, private sector and the people. Penang has succeeded in reviving the growth of the economy assisted by our CAT governance, of competency accountability and transparency.
- Fast forward to almost 10 years later, the results speak for themselves. Penang’s economy has turned around and regained our mojo, especially in our two mainstays of manufacturing and services that contributes more than 95% of our GDP. Our GDP growth has exceeded the national growth rate and is expected to grow by 6% this year as compared to Malaysia’s forecasted 5.2%. Even the agricultural sector has managed to grow in the midst of a substantial expansion of manufacturing and tourism, from 1.6% of the GDP in 2007 to 2% of the GDP in 2016, especially our fish farming on the sea industry. From nowhere, sea fish farming in Penang is now the largest in Malaysia, with a value of RM 1,114 million at 58,682 tonnes in 2015.
- Consequently GDP per capita in Penang has increased from RM33,597 in 2010 to RM47,322 in 2016, a 30% increase. Penang’s GDP per capita is the 2nd highest in the country, behind Kuala Lumpur. Penang’s unemployment rate of 2.1% is the 2nd lowest in the country in 2016. At the same time, inequality in Penang has also fallen. Penang’s Gini coefficient fell from 0.419 in 2009 to 0.356 in 2016, an improvement of 15%.
- From 2015 to the first half of 2017, Penang attracted a total of RM13.8 billion in approved Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the 2nd highest in the country behind Johor. The revival of the manufacturing industry is reflected by Penang becoming champions of investments again in Malaysia. Despite a 28.2% fall in the total approved investments in Malaysia for the first half of 2017 from RM88.4 billion in 2016 to RM65.4 billion, Penang bucked the trend when total approved investments actually INCREASED from RM2.67 billion in 2016 to RM7.7 billion in the first half of 2017, an increase of 188%.
- Tourism has grown together with new hotels opening and higher occupancy rates. Penang was the highest contributor in the country for the new tourism tax(imposed at RM10 per international tourists) implemented on 1 September 2017, collecting RM241,460 in one month, even higher than Kuala Lumpur. This indicates that there were more international tourists in Penang than in Kuala Lumpur.
- The number of passengers at the Penang International Airport(PIA) hit 6.7 million passengers in 2016, exceeding the capacity of 6.5 million passengers, earlier than the expected full capacity by four years. This year, the number of passengers is expected to hit 7.1 million passengers. With the world’s top airline Qatar Airways announcing direct flights from Doha to Penang beginning 6 February 2018, the Prime Minister announced in his 2018 Budget Speech the upgrading of the PIA. We thank the Prime Minister for his announcement.
- Everyone loves Penang – for our food, our streets of living histories and cultures and our city that is full of opportunities and freedom. In 2008, Georgetown was conferred the World Heritage Status by UNESCO. It is also a thriving exhibition and conventions city with world class meetings facilities as well as the largest medical tourism market in Malaysia. The Island Hospital group announced a RM2 billion investment to build the largest private hospital in Penang with 1,000 beds.
- From being one of the dirtiest cities in Malaysia we took over in 2008, Penang especially the city of Georgetown transformed into one of the cleanest cities in Malaysia. Not only are we physically clean, we run a clean government that has been praised by Transparency International and the annual Auditor-General’s Report.
- We made a promise to the people of Penang, that we will be a credible, accountable and transparent government and we keep to that promise. Government projects, large and small, are decided via competitive, open tender. All members of the administration publicly declare their assets. Politics and business are kept separate and family members of government leaders are not allowed to do business with the government.
- The success story in the last 10 years is reflected by annual budget surpluses since 2008, accumulated budget surpluses over the 8 year period between 2008-2015 of RM578 million, which is more than the RM373 million of accumulated budget surpluses in the 50 years from 1957-2007, increase in cash reserves by more than RM 1 billion to RM1.8 billion, and the largest ever reduction in state debts by an astonishing 90%. Clearly the last 9 years in government have shown how much more have been done as compared to the previous 50 years.
- This is why the Pakatan state government in Penang remains strong and trusted by the people. We seek balanced development too. Of the RM3.1 billion spent on infrastructure works since 2008, RM2.3 billion or 77% was spent in Seberang Perai to ensure that no region is left too far behind. Being pro-growth and pro-jobs is however insufficient. We must also be pro-poor. Having generated economic development, we turn our attention towards the socio-political agenda to establish Penang as a welfare state.
The “I Love Penang” card
- Penang is considered as the most livable city in Malaysia. Our vision for a livable Penang where people from all walks of life will value and enjoy, is to celebrate freedom and diversity, art and culture in a cosmopolitan city, strengthen our communities that are clean, green, safe and healthy and improve on connectivities in line with a future digital economy.
- First of all, we will launch a new smart card for all Penangites, called the “I Love Penang Card” which is the key to access various social amenities and benefits provided by the state government. The management and distribution of all government welfare programmes (including the programs under I-Sejahtera) will be streamlined and integrated with the “I Love Penang” card. It will make lives a lot more convenient for Penangites. All we need in the future is to carry the card – and maybe soon a virtual card in the form of a mobile apps installed on smartphones – to gain access to payments, benefits, and amenities.
- The I-Love-Penang card will be very useful for ordinary people, and at the same time become a powerful instrument for the government to start to incorporate big data analytics into evidence-based policy making and public service delivery. We will use the principles of behavioural economics as popularized by Nobel Prize winning economist, Richard Thaler, to ‘nudge’ the public towards better delivery and performance outcomes.
- The state government’s think-tank, Penang Institute, will be tasked with implementing the I-Love-Penang card. The budget for Penang Institute has been increased to RM4.5 million.
Free Bus Services During Peak Hours – The “Nudge” Approach
- An example of this “Nudge Approach” of the I-Love-Penang card is to provide incentives to increase usage of public buses and reduce traffic congestion. In 2018, the government will set aside RM 15 million to get more people using public buses in Penang by providing free rides during morning and afternoon peak hours, on all We will also work with Rapid Penang to expand the service networks, revamp some of the routes to make bus journeys faster, more frequent and more reliable and to put more buses on the road.
- We want a win-win relationship with Rapid Penang. The expanded free bus programme will tremendously increase ridership, revenues and ancillary business opportunities for Rapid Penang. At the same time, Rapid Penang must help Penang by bringing in more new buses on the road and improve service reliability. Rapid Penang will hopefully commit to add on 200 new buses.
- All of the above can only work when we adopt a robust cashless smart card system that allows both the users and the bus operators to monitor bus trips and usage electronically.
- The state government and Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang has spent RM21 million since 2008 to provide free CAT buses in the George Town area, and subsidised buses from and between the mainland and Penang across the Penang Bridge for those working in Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone. MBPP will be increasing the number of free CAT buses from 3 to 5 free buses in 2018, with the cost increasing from RM 666,000 to RM1.1 million yearly.
- We will establish “Transport Penang”, a new planning authority/unit comprised of a small team of transport planners, modellers and experts who will report to the Penang Transport Council headed by Penang State EXCO YB Chow Kon Yeow.
Public Space and Communities Building
- Urban greenery and the public parks in Penang has always been an important asset that we are immensely proud of. This government is committed to maintain urban greenery, and to upgrade our parks. Parks, and public space such as sidewalks, squares, roadside benches and even back-lanes are crucial because these are the places we meet each other, where we talk to our neighbours and acquaintances, where young couples bring their toddler to the playground and where our parents – the elderly uncles and aunties do their morning exercise. It is where communities are shaped and defined.
- In May 2017, we have passed a new law, the Stadium and Open Area Corporation Enactment 2017, to pave the way for a more holistic planning and professional management of stadiums and public spaces in Penang. As a further step, we will commission a comprehensive Penang Parks Plan, under the auspices of the Penang Institute, to improve our parks and eventually connect all of our parks together into a web of green corridors with park connectors and links.
- As new developments such as the Gurney Wharf takes shape in Penang Island, sizeable tracts of land will be developed into attractive parks, open for all public free of charge. In the case of Gurney Wharf, 60 acres of reclaimed land will be turned into a world class waterfront recreational space.
An Active and Healthy Penang :- RM45 Million To Make Penang A Bicycle State
- I have announced in 2016 about Penang’s vision is to be a cycling state. We have since partnered with private sectors to develop bike corridors identified under the Penang Bike Path Master Plan. The ambitious “Coastal Cycling Route’, which will link Straits Quay in Tanjong Tokong on the northeast to the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge on the Southwest, is jointly shared with the private sector at a cost of RM45 million with a length of 39.3 km, including spiral bridges. 21.2 km of bicycle path has been constructed and the remainder will be completed by 2020.
- Promoting cycling is not only good for a healthy Penang, but it is also great for small businesses such as bike shops and cafes that are popping up one after another all over Penang.
Sports Unite People:- RM275 Million Making Badminton(82 New Courts) And Swimming(4 Olympic Sized Pools) Our Core Sports
- Malaysians love our badminton champions from the late Eddy and David Choong to the contemporary Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Chan Peng Soon. We must do more to develop badminton as a competitive sport as well as a healthy recreational activity among Penangites.
- Therefore, the state government has allocated RM60 million for two new badminton complexes, in Lebuh Macallum(a dual 8 badminton and a basketball court) and in Sungai Pinang(12 badminton courts). There is also private initiative to build a Penang Badminton Academy costing RM22 million with 16 badminton courts and other facilities in Persiaran Karpal Singh. A RM2.5 million Badminton Complex comprising of 6 courts will be built in Jalan Bukit Panchor, Seberang Perai Selatan.
- We are also building another sports complex in Butterworth with a swimming pool, and 30 badminton courts at a cost of about RM60 million. In total, Penang will have an additional 4 Olympic sized swimming pools and 82 badminton courts in 4 years time. 10 new badminton courts and an Olympic sized swimming pool have already been completed by Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang in Relau at a cost of over RM 20 million.
- In Bukit Mertajam, the state government is proposing a new RM 7 million hockey stadium funded jointly with the private sector. For football, we are upgrading the mini stadium in Permatang Rawa with RM2.5 million to cater for the needs of the locals.
- There will also be a new sports complex contributed by the private sector costing up to RM100 million comprising a new closed velodrome, an Olympic sized swimming complex and an open air football field in Pantai Jerejak at the Bayan Baru area.
- In addition to keeping us active and healthy, sports activities bring friends and communities together, regardless of ethnic, religion and gender. We intend to upgrade community sports facilities, such as basketball and futsal courts in Penang.
- I have also noticed that e-sports have been gaining popularity among the youth. E-Sp4rts has emerged as an international sport with professional teams and players from all over the world. In Penang, the state government will facilitate the healthy development of E-Sports by allocating up to RM1 million to help players and teams under 25 years old to train and compete in E-Games. Through Penang Youth Development Council (PYDC), the government will help E-sports team in Penang to match with sponsors.
Skills and human capital development – RM75 Million In STEM Teaching & RM 300 “One-Off” Contribution To Local Vocational School Students
- Penang Development Corporation and Invest Penang will continue to assist Small Medium Entreprises(SMEs) through our SMEs Advisory & Research Training or SMART services that promotes local sourcing investments and networking, market matching and technological updates, the RM26 million SME Centre in Bayan Lepas FIZ that provides subsidised rentals and the RM 67 million SME Village that offers to sell 150 acres of land to SMEs to build their factories.
- Penang Institute will start the Penang Leadership Academy to bring in cutting edge leadership and entrepreneurial courses from experts in the industry from all over the world. RM1 million will be allocated to set up this management upgrading and retraining programme to prepare our managers for a digital future. RM2 million has been allocated annually for the German Meister programme to provide free tuition fees for the German vocational training to students who learn and work at the same time.
- To demonstrate our emphasis on human talent as our main economic resource, the state government has continued with granting of a “one-off” RM1,000 payment to Penang students studying in local institutions of higher learning in Peninsular Malaysia, including AIMST, Wawasan Open University, TAR College and TAR University College, and RM1,200 to students studying in Sabah and Sarawak. So far 21,675 Penang students have benefited costing more than RM20 million since 2008.
- To extend our emphasis on building up our human resources, the Penang state government wishes to announce that a “one-off” payment of RM 300 will be granted to first year Penang students accepted at local vocational schools in Malaysia beginning on 2018. RM 2 million will be allocated.
- The state government, through the Penang Development Corporation (PDC), have allocated 13,000 square feet of rentable space at the iconic RM 23 million Wisma Yeap Chor Ee in the heritage core of Georgetown, at subsidised rental rates to establish a flexible collaboration space. The occupancy rate for co-working space is now 94%. We envision this as a social space for building a vibrant community of science, serving as a catalyst to engage, educate, inspire and connect people, especially students and youth in Penang, in the pursuit of creative endeavours and innovation. Marrying heritage and technology, this refurbished premier heritage building houses the Penang Science Cafe to promote the learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in a fun and innovative way.
- How do we prepare the next generation for the challenges of and opportunities offered by the age of Industry 4.0? Industry 4.0 is characterised by this fusion of technologies that blurs the physical, digital and biological spheres. Industry 4.0 is a future state where the world is interconnected and machines interact with one another, where robots performs, machines work together through the Internet of things (I-O-T) and where Big Data Analytics are used for real-time decision making.
- However, we must not forget, whilst “Data is King, Talent is Everything”. As a start, the state government will allocate RM2 million for computer coding classes in Penang conducted by the Penang Science Cluster at Wisma Yeap Chor Yee. An estimated 118,000 students here will benefit. Education, in particular science and maths, and coding, are the foundations of a vibrant Industry 4.0. Let’s start our children early and they will be prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow.
- To date, we have invested RM62 million in Penang for various STEM programme, including the Karpal Singh Learning, Penang Tech Dome, Penang Digital Library, Penang Science Cafe, Penang Centre International Science Fair. The additional RM2 million allocation for coding classes and building a new Penang Digital Library 2 for RM10.8 million would bring our total investment in STEM teaching to RM 75 million.
The RM 30 Million Penang Arts District And RM 4 Million KOTAK
- Arts and culture shapes the nature and defines the character of a city as international and cosmopolitan. A city without arts and culture is a city without a soul, like an empty shell. Witness the success of the George Town Festival in bringing attention to Penang, especially the wall murals on heritage shophouses bringing in hordes of visitors to famous paintings such as “Siblings riding a bicycle”. Indeed arts and culture can be an economic game changer in Penang.
- The Penang State Government has envisioned to develop a contemporary arts hub to catalyse the economic impact of the creative industry in Penang. A 9.2-acre development site off Gat Lebuh McCallum in George Town has been identified as the ideal place to set up the Penang Art District, a container township built at an initial cost of RM30 million.
- The Penang Art District will cater to the single largest collection of art galleries, cultural museums, exhibition spaces, art and music studios, arts schools and workshops in Malaysia. To complement the arts spaces, ancillary services such as art bookshops, art supplies store, framing and courier will also be provided. With an urban and modern aesthetic, the 100,000 sq ft container city concept – which will be the largest in the world to-date, the Penang Art District will be a project made not just for Penangites, but for all Malaysians.
- KOTAK, an outdoor community street mall for arts and culture, will be developed in Pesiaran Karpal Singh, near George Town. Comprising 58 container units that will promote arts, heritage and local culture of the Malay community. This is a private financial initiative with an estimated cost of RM4 million. The state government has provided the land at nominal rates so that the lots there can be rented out cheaply at only RM600 a month(including water and electricity).
George Town Heritage Refurbishment Fund For RM 3 Million And Little India Precinct Upgrading Seed Money For RM1 Million
- The state government will spend RM 1 million seed money to upgrade the public facilities in the precincts around Little India in Georgetown. A welcome arch will also be built and financed by Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang. The Penang Indian Chamber of Commerce has agreed to fund related projects to make this centre of Indian cultural and religious activities a unique showcase of Penang’s diverse heritage.
- The state government desires the UNESCO World Heritage site of George Town remain populated by local and long-term residents to retain the unique charm and energy that made George Town so unique and prominent. A RM3 million seed fund will be provided to set up the Heritage Premises Grant to support the physical repairs and conservation cost of heritage premises, and implement incentive programs to owners renting to long-term tenants at affordable rents.
- 62 million was spent on by Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang to restore 6 dilapidated shophouses in Lebuh Kimberley to be rented out to traditional craftsman and local businesses. RM9.63 million will be spent on festivals and heritage celebrations to create awareness that promotes,preserves and protects heritage conservation.
Non-Muslim Religious Affairs
- Annual funding of 1 million will continue to be provided to the Hindu Endowment Board, which perform its statutory duties overseeing Hindu temples in a beautiful heritage building provided by the state government at Macalister Road. An Indian restaurant is operating there, the only Indian restaurant in recent years doing business in a government premise.
- Since 2008, RM30 million has been disbursed for non-Muslim places of worship and religious groups. Land has also been made available for churches and temples. The state government has allocated 20 acres of prime land for sale in Ampang Jajar, Butterworth broken up into 32 lots. Due to overwhelming demand, another 50 acres has been set aside for sale in Batu Kawan.
- The state government will continue to provide funds for vernacular schools and independent Chinese schools, as well as make land available. The over 120 Chinese schools have been given an annual grant of RM8.5 million since 2010 whilst the 28 Tamil receive annually nearly RM 2 million. The state government is willing to provide land to the Federal government to build the first Tamil secondary school in the country.
RM 60 million Pinang Sihat Card Program For Family Household Monthly Income Below RM 5,000.
- Penang might be a small state in terms of land area but we are one big family. As a welfare state, it is our duty to help each other so that even the most unfortunate are not forgotten. Since taking over Penang in 2008, the state government has given out RM412 million in cash payouts to ordinary Penangites up to 2016, as their reward for choosing a clean and corrupt-free government. This is what this ordinary people’s Budget (Belanjawan Marhaen) is all about.
- Health is wealth and health care expenses have been taking a bigger and bigger chunk of household expenses in recent years. From 2018, the state government will introduce a new Healthy Penang Programme [Program Penang Sihat] for households earning a monthly income of RM5,000 and below. Penang has a median income of RM5,409 and placing a RM5,000 income threshold will assist working-class income groups most in need.
- Every year, these households will be given RM300 credit in their I-Love-Penang card to pay for outpatient clinic fees and medicines, capped at RM50 per visit. Single individuals with income less than RM2,500 will also get RM150 credit a year, similarly capped at RM50 per visit.
- This will help ordinary working people who fall ill to see a doctor immediately without worrying too much about expensive charges or travelling to government clinics that are far away from their homes.
- The estimated cost for this program, which will benefit 195,000 households, is RM 60 million a year. This is a serious undertaking by the Penang government despite the fact that health remains entirely under Federal jurisdiction. This contrasts with the Federal government cutting down pharmaceutical and public health supply costs by RM19 million from RM 950 million in 2017 to RM931 million in 2018.
- The free mammogram examination program for women above 35 years shall continue. So far more than 10,000 women have benefited and 2 million has been allocated for next year. Around expecting to examine 30,000 women is expected to undergo free mammogram by 2020.
RM15 Million Child Care Assistance For Working Mothers
- For any country to achieve a high-income economy status, the female labour participation rate must be up to 65%. Penang’s female labour participation rate is only 58%. We wish to recognise working women’s contributions, empower and encourage more women to work.
- From 2018, all working mothers up to 60 years with children between newborn to 6 years old will be paid a cash incentive of RM300 a year. About 50,000 households in Penang who have at least one young child are potential beneficiaries of this programme. This will cost the state government RM15 million a year in 2018.
Increasing The Senior Citizens & Disabled Community Appreciation Scheme From RM100 To RM130
- The RM 100 Senior Citizens Appreciation Scheme to those above 60 years of age, was the first anti-corruption dividend to 193,823 senior citizens in Penang as at 1 November 2017. Nearly RM20 million have been paid out. After hearing many requests, the state government will be increasing the payout by 30% from RM100 to RM130, an increase of RM6 million.
- Similarly the disabled community were given RM100 yearly, with 10,478 recipients. So far more than RM1.1 million have been paid. The state government will also be increasing their payout by 30% from RM100 to RM130, an increase of RM335,000.
Waivers For Hawkers Licenses, Low-cost, Low-medium cost and Kampung Houses Assessment Rate.
- Food unites all Penangites and it is the ordinary hawkers who make Penang’s street food the best in the world. The implementation of GST in 2015 has caused prices of goods to increase and adversely impacted ordinary hawkers, street traders and pasar malam vendors.
- To alleviate the pressure on all of them, the government has decided to provide a one-off business license fee waiver for 2018. This will cost the two local councils approximately RM 0.5 million and 29,000 hawkers and small traders will benefit from the waiver in 2018. For each hawker, the amount is small but it sends an important message to all – that we care for you.
- In addition, the state government will provide 2,000 “I-Love-Penang” canopy tents for open air traders. This will cost the state government approximately RM600,000.
- The state government will continue to provide full waivers of payment of local government assessment rates to low-cost, low-medium cost and kampong houses. This will help low-income groups save the cost of paying 9 million for Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang and RM6 million for Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai.
The Dengue Threat – Crush Aedes Totally(CAT)
- Dengue is a clear and present danger to the health and safety of Penangites. For the first 10 months of 2017, 13 people have died of dengue in Penang. This is more than the 12 people who have died for the entire year of 2016.
- The stubborn refusal for the number of deaths to decline requires a rethink and a fresh approach in the fight against dengue. Relying on artificial intelligence technology, the state government will adopt an application by a Silicon Valley company that enables prediction and forecasting of dengue hotspots even before it has happened up to 3 months in advance.
- Naming this CAT- Crush Aedes Totally, this preventive measure costing RM420,000 yearly can hopefully save lives. Penang is the first state in Malaysia to test this application approved by the United Nations World Health Organisation and if the number of deaths can be reduced, we can make Penang safer from dengue. The state government has also allocated RM100,000 to the Health Ministry to encourage greater community participation in our joint COMBI programmes to wipe out aedes breeding grounds. The 109 COMBI teams set up will help to implement CAT.
- The state government has spent RM531 million to undertake flood mitigation projects since 2008. This does not include the RM220 million announced in the 2017 Budget comprising RM150 million by the state government, RM50 million by Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang to lay a pipe from Air Itam Dam to Teluk Bahang Dam and RM20 million spent by the two local councils for minor flood projects. There is a need to quickly press the Federal government to carry out the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project, the major cause of flash floods on Penang Island.
- However on 15 September 2017, Penang was lashed by the highest rainfall ever recorded, a victim of the wicked spillover of the Doksuri Typhoon. The Air Itam Dam recorded 270 mm of rain in one night, equivalent to one month’s rainfall in one night. Even the Air Itam Dam went from 74% capacity to 100% full in one night. If the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project had been completed it would not have prevented flooding, only reduced it. For this reason there is a great urgency for the Federal government to start work on Sungai Pinang immediately.
- As an urgent response to the worst flood ever, RM2.5 million was spent to carry out 33 emergency flood work projects. In recognition of the losses suffered during the worst flood recorded in history, the Penang state government decided to contribute RM400 per family and have allocated RM 3 million for this purpose.
- Both MBPP and MPSP will be spending RM20 million for various flood projects.
Housing For All
- The Penang state government through Penang Development Corporation(PDC) is committed towards building 27,230 affordable housing in 17 projects throughout all 5 districts in Penang. We are even more proud that 24,227 low cost and low-medium cost houses were built after 2008 by both PDC and the private sector for the 10 years between 2008 to 2017. For the same period before 2008, only 5,145 low cost or low-medium cost units were built, or nearly 5 times less than what the present Pakatan state government achieved.
- The Bandar Cassia affordable housing project will be completed by the end of this year. 39 and 41 kampung houses will be built for the kampong folks in Kampung Tok Suboh, Bukit Mertajam and Kampung Kepala Gajah, Seberang Perai Selatan, respectively at a cost of RM4.5 million each. A 3-storey low cost project comprising 36 units will also be built in Taman Murai Jaya, Seberang Perai Selatan at a cost of RM 4.6 million.
- The state government cannot carry out more affordable housing projects unless Bank Negara relaxes the unreasonable and harsh lending guidelines. Many of these affordable and public housing units in Penang remain empty, not because there are no housebuyers but because the housebuyers cannot secure housing loans. Bank Negara should give special priority to first time housebuyers for houses below RM300,000.
Enviromental Sustainability – RM10 Million For Hill Protection
- The state government has acted pro-actively to natural disasters and crisis, going down to the ground offering relief work, repairing damage caused by floods and landslides quickly. Even though the government has taken preventive measures, climate change has caused a paradigm shift, resulting in our infrastructure suddenly being rendered obsolete or outdated to deal with new challenges.
- Apart from crisis management, the state government wants to be pro-active in dealing with environmental issues in a preventive mode. RM10 million will be allocated for hill slope protection together with a study on climate change, especially illegal farming. It has been observed that landslides do occurs less in developed areas than when it is compared to undeveloped areas. Clearly soil protection is done when the area is being developed but this is not the case when there is illegal farming.
- The 21st October disaster was caused by a landslide in a work-site. There are suspicions of professional negligence. This work-site accident caused a Malaysian site supervisor and 10 other foreign workers to lose their lives. A special Commission of Inquiry has been formed to determine all questions raised in a public forum format. The Commission’s hearing is open to the public free of charge. In the meantime, the project is frozen and the consultants blacklisted until the findings of the Commission are announced. The findings will be made public. Let the Commission determine whether the project was built on hill slope or flat land, or whether the quarry caused the landslide.
Public Works, Roads & Markets
- Penang’s solution to traffic congestion lies in building a public transport system served by LRT, buses, water taxies and ferries. Whilst we are awaiting the Federal government’s approval, we will continue to suffer from The Penang state government has allocated RM 61.2 million in 2018 as compared to RM42.3 million for road works in 2017.
- Two new markets will be rebuilt, Bukit Mertajam old market for RM20 million and Seberang Jaya market for RM13 million.
- Think City is carrying out an interesting RM 1 million restoration project on Fort Cornwallis to rebuild a 1 meter moat filled with water surrounding the walls of the fort. Hopefully the moat will be completed in time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the inscription of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage site on 7 July 2018.
- The state government has increased the allocation of Islam from RM50 million in 2017 to RM 53 million in 2018. Allocation for Islamic religious schools amount to RM 55.3 million since 2008. This does not include land acquired or given to religious schools. Religious schools do not get only RM1.75 million every year but a much larger amount under the Islamic affairs exco portfolio. In fact this RM1.75 million is something extra. Unfortunately those with bad motives ignores the larger amount given and uses this RM1.75 million to spread slander and lies that the Chief Minister is anti-Islam.
- The state government has allocated RM457 million to Islamic affairs since 2008, a 84% increase compared to RM249 million for the same period before 2008. This has caused Penang MCA Chairman to call me anti-Chinese for taking Chinese votes but only helping Malays and Islam. And yet pro-UMNO leaders call me anti-Islam. Which is which?
- I am also accused of being anti-Chinese because I supported the development of the halal industry in Penang which grew from zero in 2008 to RM428 million invested in Penang Halal hub today. Congratulations to Penang State EXCO for Islam Dato Malik bin Abul Kassim for your success! Let me state here that the Penang Pakatan state government is not anti-Chinese nor anti-Malay nor anti-Indian. We are only anti-corruption, anti-1MDB and anti-GST.
RM2,000 Cash Bonus For Penang Civil Servants Paid In Full Before The End Of 2017.
- The state government appreciates the service given by our civil servants. This year’s Hari Raya Bonus was 0.75 months. The state government has decided that the end-year bonus shall be RM2,000 cash to those with good disciplinary record and paid be in full before the end of 2017. Those without a good disciplinary record as determined by Dato Seri State Secretary shall be paid RM1,000 cash. This RM2,000 cash bonus shall be applicable to all local governments in MBPP and MPSP, state government corporations and agencies.
- Religious school and KAFA teachers, independent Chinese schools teachers will also get a cash bonus of RM300 whilst those in tahfiz, pondok schools and tadika Islam(TADIS) get a RM200 cash award. They had all received a similar amount during this year’s Hari Raya bonus.
- The state government wishes to thank the security forces, PDRM, armed forces, Jabatan Bomba, and all personnel in both the federal and state government for helping to maintain peace, public order and stability in Penang.
Penang 2030 – Life Changers And Economic Game Changers
- This is the 10th Penang Budget tabled by the Pakatan Government since winning power in March 2008. We are honoured to be entrusted by Penangites to administer this beautiful state on behalf of the people over the past 10 years.
- Looking forward, our responsibility is to leave the next generation a better and stronger Penang. To succeed, we must look for gamechangers.
- We are focusing on sustainable development with five major pillars, i.e. economic, political, social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
- Our economy is on solid footing and will remain vibrant and dynamic in the years to come. Penang hosts the two top largest exporters in Malaysia. Western Digital exports RM20 billion yearly is No. 2, making up 2.3% of Malaysia’s total exports. The largest single exporter is Broadcom exporting RM70 billion worth of high-tech electronic products, or 8% of Malaysia’s total products.
- On social development, the greatest emphasis is to focus on human development. We set up Penang Future Foundation with RM20 million funding since 2015. Since then, both the Penang Hindu Endowment Board and the State Secretary Corporation are also having their own scholarships programme targeted at different students needing support to achieve academic excellence.
- We have expanded the state government think tank, Penang Institute in the past three years by hiring more experts and talents and also upgrading the buildings and facilities. The role of Penang Institute is to serve as a repository of knowledge and to become a powerhouse for evidence-based policy making in Penang and Malaysia.
- The month-long Georgetown Festival, the Georgetown Literary Festival, the In-Between Arts Festival and the Penang Jazz Festival are but some of the events which have not only cemented George Town’s status as a UNESCO world heritage site but also as one of the must-visit cultural places in Asia. We anticipate more of such festivals and activities to take place not only in George Town but also in other parts of the state and this will give Penang further prominence as a premier destination for tourism.
- Finally, on the environmental front, we are confronted with the effects of climate change. We are witnessing extraordinary climate events almost every year. In 2016, there was a prolonged drought and in September 2017, we had the largest amount of rainfall ever recorded within a day in our history. This kind of extreme weather events challenge the fundamental assumptions of how we design and operate our cities. In fact, cities all over the world are grappling with real challenges posed by climate change. Questions such as, should we spent billion to build seawalls? Should we relocate villages away from low lying coastal areas? Should we enlarge the monsoon drains in anticipation of more extreme 100-year flood events? And, do we have enough money to do all that? – are common for cities all around the world.
- Our mission is to leave our next generation a better, stronger and more sustainable Penang. We need to start now to increase climate resilience. While we cannot predict or avoid the recurrence of 100-year rainfall similar to what happened on September 2017, we could – and we must have a plan to adapt and respond to climate change.
- In 2016, we have started to prepare a state-wide Drainage Master Plan, district by district, to assess flood risks and to act as a baseline for future drainage upgrades. To date, we have completed the Drainage Master Plan for Seberang Perai Tengah, Seberang Perai Selatan and Daerah Barat Daya with a cost of RM 1.45 million. For Seberang Perai Utara and Daerah Timur Laut, the study is still ongoing. The state government allocated an additional RM1.7million for this purpose.
- In the future, we hope to commission a comprehensive Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Penang Island and Seberang Perai, so that communities are better informed and better prepared for the effects of climate change. To improve our existing natural disaster/emergency response system, we have set up a Penang Alert system and will conduct studies which will be part of our hillslope protection project and mechanism costing RM10 million.
- The 2018 Budget will have a projected deficit of RM 748.5 million compared to a projected deficit of RM 667 million in the 2017 Budget. However Penang has the unique distinction of tabling projected budget deficits every year but yet record actual surpluses every year, principally through savings from our open tender system and efficient CAT administration of competency, accountability and transparency.
- This is likely the final Budget before the 14th general elections. I wish everyone the best as you face the coming general elections. I still remember my first budget which was a zero-based budget, where the focus was on fighting and preventing corruption and wastage. Then in the later years we focused on performance with our outcome based budgeting. And finally when our finances stabilised, we wanted Penang to go to the next level as an entrepreneurial and welfare state.
- This Marhaen Budget extends the previous budgetary emphasis on the ordinary man or women in the street. From taxi drivers and school bus drivers getting RM600 yearly to trishaw pullers receiving RM1,200 yearly from the government, the Pakatan state government’s emphasis reaches out to everyone, single mothers to mothers who do not work, university students, primary and secondary students and now vocational schools students.
- Even fishermen who are seen as anti-government due to their opposition to land reclamation projects, needed to finance the public transport projects and LRT, have their benefits increased from being given fishing nets previously can now take RM400 cash yearly. The various cash payouts is distributed to all, even BN members from UMNO, MCA or MIC.
- BN members can even rent government halls and go into state government departments without fear or favour, whilst I am banned from entering even Chinese primary schools. BN Assemblymen can get development allocations from the state government of RM40,000 a year, which they reject, whilst opposition Members of Parliament are denied our parliamentary allocations.
- We do not take political revenge on BN because we consider them as a Penangite. We feel we have a moral responsibility and public duty to take care of even our political opponents. We reach out to you because we see ourselves as a government of the people, for the people and by the people.
- That is why the Pakatan Harapan Penang state government is the hope for the ordinary people. We share the same fears, dreams and hopes. We defend you because we are you. We are all Harapan!
Sekian terima kasih. Nandri Vanakam.