Speech by Tuan Chow Kon Yeow, Penang Chief Minister cum Chairman of Penang Green Council during Green Pinang Awards Presentation Ceremony 2019 on 21 November 2019 at St. Giles Wembley Hotel, Penang.
Good evening everyone and welcome to Green Pinang Awards Presentation Ceremony 2019.
Once again, we are gathered here to celebrate another year full of green achievements from Penangites which also made us an inspiring State for the nation. I am very delighted to be here with all of you as this is a proud moment not just for me, but also for all of you and our beloved Penang.
Penang is at the forefront for the past 10 years in green movement. This year marks the 10th year since we first implemented “No Free Plastic Bags” campaign back in 2009. We have taken another step further by introducing a “No Single-use Plastic Campaign” this April to reduce the single-use plastic usage, starting with plastic straws. Not to forget, we also rolled out the initiative of no plastic bags provided every Monday even if one is willing to pay RM0.20 from July onwards.
Last year, I launched the Penang2030 vision which aims to make Penang a “Family-focused, Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation.” This is our first written living action plan that sets to improve liveability, upgrade economy, strengthen civic participation and create a balanced development. We are looking forward to new ideas and innovation from the people who can come up with any initiative to contribute to a greener environment and Penang2030 vision is the one goal where we hope to engage all stakeholders.
The concept of green and smart city development is what we are looking into right now as cities would be the accelerators for sustainable economies and the transformation of societies when rapid urbanisation and climate change is happening every day. By identifying the future policy pathways and exploring more options in green technologies, we can build a much more resilient Penang. In this context, the circular economy has become the emerging trend in city development as it allows us to adopt new ways of living while curbing our grave environmental excesses such as plastic pollution and climate change simultaneously.
It is never too late for us to embark on the path to a sustainable city and now is the right moment for us to act. With the increasing number of events being organised annually, the Penang Green Event Incentive was introduced early this year to recognise event planners, organisers, managers of private sectors, government agencies, NGOs and community-based organisations that made an effort in lowering their foreseeable environmental impacts. This incentive focuses on the reduction of waste (whether solid waste or food waste), energy and water conservation before, during and after the event. We hope that this incentive will serve to encourage the event organisers to adopt sustainable measures and be mindful of the waste that are produced, your carbon footprint and the amount of energy that is consumed.
This August, we also launched the Penang Smart Parking System (PSP) app to encourage the public to utilise e-wallet technologies such as Boost, Touch ‘n Go and Grab Pay as we are heading towards a smart state. This smart parking system directs drivers to a vacant parking lot in real time and if there aren’t any parking lots available, the system will suggest the nearest alternatives within the vicinity. We hope with the implementation of this system, Penangites can slowly shift towards a smarter and resource efficient lifestyle.
The Penang Transport Master Plan is introduced as a solution that involves not only road and highway networks, but also light railway systems, buses, aerial and even water transport. For the first phase, we plan to construct the Bayan Lepas LRT line connecting our airport and industrial free trade zone to George Town, with a total of 28 stations. To promote a zero-carbon emission transportation alternative, a 350km-long bicycle lane is being planned along with the Link Bike bike-sharing programme. On top of that, the planned Penang Green Connectors project will be able to link different components of urban green spaces to create a network that will benefit biodiversity.
I would like to thank everyone here for your outstanding achievement and dedication as a green leader that will be taking charge of the future of our state. It is crucial for us to work hand in hand as climate issue can wait no longer. Every effort we put in today will change our future tomorrow despite it being just a simple one. Congratulations to all our winners as you have made a meaningful change in Penang and do keep up with your good work.
I would like to also thank Penang Green Council team for your passion and efforts in supporting the state’s green initiatives since 2011. The same appreciation goes to our sponsors and partners who have been most supporting towards us in making Penang a better place for everyone. All these initiatives will not be realised without the cooperation and support from the people and our stakeholders.
Last but not least, I wish everyone a good evening and a wonderful dinner. Let’s make it greener and bigger for Penang that we all love.
Chow Kon Yeow