SPEECH BY RT. HON. TUAN LIM GUAN ENG
CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG,
AT THE COPENHAGEN SOLUTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE CITIES,
ON THURSDAY, 8TH SEPTEMBER 2016 AT 9.00 A.M.
AT ST.GILES HOTEL
Welcome to the Pearl of the Orient!
I am delighted to welcome the Danish Ambassador and delegation to our island state.
Ambassador Nicolai was in Penang for EU Day in November 2013 where the Embassy showcased the Copenhagen Solutions Exhibition at Universiti Sains Malaysia. I remember being surprised by Copenhagen’s ambition of being carbon neutral by 2025, if it was at all possible!
And now, almost 3 years later, we have officers from the Copenhagen Municipality itself here to present and share with us about the climate projects that some of us have seen from that exhibition, and to, hopefully, update on the their carbon neutral plans.
I look forward to hearing these ideas and plans which Copenhagen Municipality has been working on the past years, and also look for opportunities to adapt them in our beautiful state.
Along with Copenhagen, I understand that there are six Danish companies who will share their experience on working with the Copenhagen Municipality on successful climate projects.
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 liveable by being clean, green, safe and healthy; and one that practices integrity, justice and people-centric governance.
When we started governing the state in 2008, 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.
To succeed amidst the environmental challenges, there is a need to change the paradigm of development to sustainable development. The Penang State Government has recognized this and has stated its intention of being the first green state in Malaysia. Amongst the operational thrusts are to reduce the environmental impact of our activities through recycling and the reduction of use of plastics and polystyrene containers, Car Free Day every Sunday in parts of George Town, to improve the living conditions of Penang through a cleaner and greener campaign as well as a sustainable and effective public transport system vision. This vision of a green Penang will bring benefits to the people, the environment and ultimately for business.
Penang became the first and so far the only 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”.
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.
On 1st of June this year, we have marked another milestone with the implementation of Waste Segregation at Source Policy in our quest to make Penang the first green state of Malaysia. We are proud to achieve the highest recycling rate of 32% in 2015, which exceeds both the current national recycling rate of 10.5% and the national target of 22% recycling rate and that only by 2020. Penang hopes to achieve the international benchmark of 40% recycling rate and that can only be achieved by successfully implementing the Separation at Source Programme. We have also banned shark fins at all State Government functions and all EXCO members have pledged not to take shark fins in their meals.
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.
We acknowledge there are lots of work to be done and more challenges to be overcome. However, I believe if we perform our respective parts, we will achieve our vision within the stipulated time.
In closing, I wish to express my gratitude to Ambassador Nicolai and all the delegates from Denmark for visiting Penang and sharing your climate ideas with us.
I hope the Penang delegates will remember some of the inspiring sharing and evocative environmental messages shared today. Let us make Penang a cleaner, greener, safer, healthier and happier state!
I declare this seminar open.