Speech by Y.A.B Tuan Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang cum Chairman of Penang Green Council during Penang International Green Conference & Exhibition 2019 (PGIGCE) at Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang.
28 September 2019
Good afternoon and welcome to the Penang International Green Conference & Exhibition (PGIGCE) 2019!
The theme for PGIGCE this year is “Penang Green and Smart City” and it is about making our city sustainable, prosperous and future-inclusive for the people of Penang by effectively integrating physical, digital and human systems in the built environment.
I believe all of us who are here today share the very same concerns. In fact, Penang’s enlightened journey towards a greener and sustainable future began many years back with the founding of Penang Green Council (PGC) in 2011 as a state agency to nurture, facilitate and coordinate environmental causes in Penang. We then discouraged the use of plastic bags as much as possible in our malls and the “Waste Segregation at Source” policy was implemented in June 2016 and with legal enforcement by our councils a year later, therefore, allowing exactly a one-year grace period for Penangites to grow accustomed to the practice.
Penang also has its very own solid waste management station in Batu Maung, built at a cost of RM75 million which uses vertical compression technology and remarkably, it can also function without electricity. Our recycling rate at 42.7% recorded last year is already double of the national recycling rate for the same corresponding period at 21%.
Moreover, across the state, developers whose projects meet the criteria to obtain the Green Building Index (GBI) certification will be eligible for rebates on assessment fees and development charges for a stipulated number of years. Over the years, these are some of the measures which we took to create the much needed and necessary awareness for Penangites to go green.
We used to say that everyone has to be on the same page in order to achieve a particular goal. To be only on the same page, however, is inadequate for us to achieve the long-term environmental goals of Penang. Everyone should have a focal point on this very same page which we share and every action, plan as well as decision should be driven towards that one focal point which is the Penang2030 vision.
The state government launched vision Penang2030 last year and it serves as an action plan with a focus on improving our liveability, upgrading the economy, strengthening civic participation and building a balanced environment to achieve a “Family-focused, Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation.”
As a major step towards this Penang2030 vision, Penang Green Council has formulated the Penang Green Agenda (PGA) which is a 3-year policy realisation project, aimed at implementing strategies to build a resilient community in Penang to meet and adapt to future environmental challenges by the year 2030.
With the support from Penang Institute, Penang Green Council is facilitating the sharing of information and inputs from 10 working groups made up of federal agencies, state government departments, businesses, academicians, NGOs and experts in their respective fields. After all working groups have been assembled by October, these PGA advisers will be working closely with the Penang2030 committee to develop a roadmap which will be officially launched next year together with a series of public engagement sessions to ensure that the public is well-aware of the existence and objectives of the PGA.
Ladies & gentlemen,
What we have achieved so far in our green journey towards liveability and sustainability in Penang are not just results on paper or a far-flung utopia waiting in the horizon. We have concrete results not only to pride ourselves in, but to spur us to work harder because they serve as a reminder that more can be done if we set our hearts towards long-term goals. Among our achievements are the following:-
- KOMTAR was awarded the Energy Management in Building (Large) Award in the Energy Efficient category during the National Awards (NEA) ceremony hosted by MESTECC last month and early this year, KOMTAR was also awarded with one Diamond rating for the Low Carbon Building category by the Sustainable Development Authority Malaysia (SEDA Malaysia).
- The installation of energy efficient LED street lights to replace all the old ones throughout Penang which will reduce our electricity bill by more than half. Currently 7,135 streetlights maintained by MBPP have been replaced with LED ones and the remaining 9,501 will be changed by May 2020.
- The state government is now working closely with the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) on the Penang Bicycle Route Master Plan which is a 200km-long bicycle lane with green concept connectivity to be ready by 2020.
- A 6km-long eco-deck structure for the safety of our cyclists and pedestrians that will connect the beach in front of Flamingo Hotel at Tanjung Bungah to the beach at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort in Batu Ferringhi.
- The City Council of Seberang Perai (MBSP) is also developing a technology platform for better management and information control under its SCope (Smart City of Penang) Project using 64 CCTV cameras enhanced with facial recognition features will be set up in several areas.
- An area covering 12km by 18km in Bukit Mertajam will be transformed into a smart city by August next year under the BM Digital Initiative. This initiative would feature the use of a smart city application through the PenangReach platform to monitor the city environment, operations and services.
We are confident what we have done so far will generate a green and smart place to live in and to offer Penangites a higher quality of life.
Our event today is jointly organized by the State Government, Penang Green Council (PGC), Malaysian Green Building Confederation (MGBC) Northern Chapter and Green Building Index (GBI). Our heartfelt gratitude goes to our co-organisers, sponsors and partners as this event would not have been possible without the strong and continuous support from them. And of course, not to forget Gurney Paragon Mall as the venue sponsor for PGIGCE.
With that, I wish all of you will have a great time today with your friends and family, to explore new things and enjoy every activity which comes with this meaningful event.