16 Aug 2012 Press Statement: Local Democracy Festival 2012


Press Statement (16 Aug 2012)

Local democracy is all about the things that affect our daily activities, from rubbish collection,to
parking space, safety in our neighbourhoods to green areas for recreation. It may seem foreign
to some of us especially those born after the 1950’s and 1960’s but in actual fact, it has been a
part of our history. In 1951, as part of the move towards independence for Malaya, the British
colonial authorities reintroduced local elections of nine of the fifteen municipal commissioners
for George Town. Kuala Lumpur followed shortly thereafter, holding its first local elections the
year after. By 1956, George Town had become the first municipality in the Federation of Malaya
to have a fully elected council.

Taking democracy to the grassroot level allows people to take both an interest in and a
responsibility for the decisions that affect their lives and the lives of others. As citizens, we
should also have a say in how our money is spent and hold our representatives accountable. It is
also a government’s role to always protect and uphold the rights of the people. Hence we believe
one way that can bring the voices of the masses to the top is by actively participating in local
democracy in all levels.

A wide range of avenues are available in Local Democracy Festival 2012 for people to get
involved. One of which is a forum on how to prepare for local elections and to help make
Penang’s move to reintroduce the third vote a process that is built from the bottom up. The
festival will continue to build on activities, which appeal to diverse issues concerning citizen
participation. History and culture enthusiasist can take a ‘heritage tour’ of council-built projects
from the 1950s/60s, guided by Dato’ Anwar Fazal, the young can get a headstart in policy
debates in Youth Parliament and all are invited to join in the fun at the refugee carnival mainly
funded by UNHCR. Besides that, community-based trainings on governance, a forum on media
freedom and street musical performances will be held through a two-month window from
August-October 2012.

It is an honour once again to receive the support the Penang State Government via the office
of YB Chow Kon Yeow, State Executive responsible for Local Government and Traffic
Management. As Organising Secreatariat, Suaram Penang will coordinate the organising of
events with the help of PWDC, JUMP, ALIRAN, The Association of Chinese Journalists and
Press Photographers, Penang (PEWAJU), Sembang-sembang Forum and the People’s Green

Members of the public who are interested to find out further details regarding the specific
programs can do so via:



TEL: 04-6582285 (Office hours, weekdays)
EMAIL: localdemocracypg@gmail.com

Events Calendar

Date Programme
16th August Press Conference
21st August Free and Fair Access to Media Forum
8th September Busking
9th September Official Launch at Speaker’s Square
Democratic Heritage Tour
15th September What Kind of Local Elections do we want?
29th & 30th September Refugee Carnival
6th October Planning & Local Democracy
6th & 7th October Community Training
12th-14th October Youth Parliment


On behalf of the Organising Secretariat,

Lee Hui Fei
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Penang Branch Coordinator

Youth parliament

Date: 12th-14th October 2012 (Friday- Sunday)
Time: 8am-5pm
Venue: Penang State Assembly, Speakers Square


The future lies in the hands of the younger generation and what better way to equip future leaders than to allow them to immerse themselves in the legislative seat? With visits to the State Assembly, forums, training in grassroot democracy at the Speaker’s Square, ending with a mock parliamentary seating, the young, bright minds of tomorrow are poised to get a head start in debating and creating policies for the people.

Masa depan terletak di tangan generasi muda dan pastinya cara yang lebih baik untuk melengkapkan bakal pemimpin ini adalah dengan mendedahkan diri mereka dalam institutsi dan proses demokrasi di negara kita. Dengan lawatan ke Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), forum, bengkel bersama tokoh anak muda dalam demokrasi partisipitori, bermula di Dataran Pidato sehinggalah sidang DUN percubaan (mock) untuk anak muda, pastinya peluang ini merupakan kesempatan terbaik untuk mendedahkan anak-anak muda dengan perdebatan dan proses pembuatan dasar yang mendahulukan kepentingan rakyat.

Community Training

Date: 6 & 7 October 2012
Time: 9am-1pm
Venue: Teluk Kumbar & Tasek Gelugor


Gender and local democracy issues will form the basis for this year’s Citizen Education workshops. A follow up to last year’s training, trainers from the Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) and the Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) will facilitate the discussions, exchanges.and activities to build greater understanding of local democracy and the importance of good governance and active (female) leadership。

*The workshop will be facilitated in Bahasa Malaysia.

Isu-isu gender dan demokrasi tempatan akan menjadi beberapa sorotan bengkel kewargenegaraan tahun ini. Susulan latihan tahun lepas, tujuan bengkel ini adalah untuk menarik perhatian terhadap kepentingan membuka ruang yang selamat untuk perbincangan tentang pentadbiran, gender dan demokrasi tempatan. Jurulatih dari Perbadanan Pembangunan Wanita Pulau Pinang (PWDC) dan Pusat Wanita bagi Perubahan (WCC) akan membantu berkongsi kepakaran mereka dan menggalakkan pertukaran idea.

* Bengkel akan dikendalikan dalam Bahasa Malaysia

Planning & Local Democracy

Date: 6th October 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 8pm
Venue: Auditorium C, KOMTAR


“Planning has always been an area where local participation is essential. Whether it is because of hill cutting, destructive land reclamation, heritage vandalism, ad hoc traffic and transport planning, lack of a clear ‘affordable’ housing policy, or something else, there are many Penangites and Residents’ Associations who are expressing their serious disquiet. This event will continue to raise the issues and propose solutions, so that the future of our state is better protected by a more inclusive, accountable and responsive planning process.”

“Perancangan sentiasa menjadi satu bidang di mana penyertaan tempatan adalah penting. Sama ada dalam isu pemotongan cerun-cerun bukit, projek tanah penambakan yang merosakkan persekitaran, vandalisme terhadap warisan asli, perancangan lalu lintas dan pengangkutan yang bersifat sementara, kurangnya penjelasan terhadap dasar perumahan kos sederhana dan seterusnya, terdapat banyak penduduk Pulau Pinang dan Persatuan Penduduk yang menyuarakan pendapat serius mereka. Perbincangan ‘roundtable’ ini akan terus membangkitkan isu dan mencadangkan penyelesaian, supaya masa depan negara kita lebih dilindungi oleh proses perancangan yang lebih inklusif, bertanggungjawab dan responsif. “

Refugee Carnival

Date: 29th September 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 12pm-9pm
Venue: New World Park


Date: 30th September 2012 (Sunday)
Time: 10am-5pm
Venue: Little Penang Street Market


Refugee Carnival 2012 is planned to enable participation of refugees from different refugee communities. This event’s objective is to raise public awareness about refugee issues and how we can help secure basic rights for refugee communities. The event is organised by JUMP (Northern Network of Migrants and Refugees), whose mission is to create an environment in Penang which is welcoming of refugees and migrant workers and respectful of their basic rights, not least their right for self-determination.

Refugee Carnival 2012 dianjur untuk membolehkan penyertaan orang pelarian dari komuniti pelarian yang berbeza. Objektif karnival ini adalah untuk memberi kesedaran kepada orang pelarian tentang hak
mereka dan kesedaran kepada orang awam mengenai isu-isu pelarian. Acara ini adalah selaras dengan misi JUMP (Jaringan Utara Migrasi dan Pelarian) yang mengalu-alukan, menghormati dan juga menyokong hak
asasi manusia untuk migrasi dan pelarian di Utara Semenanjung Malaysia.

What Kind of Local Elections do We Want?

Date: 15th September 2012
Time: 9am-1pm
Venue: Caring Society Complex


Now that the Penang State Government has committed to having local elections, what could they look like? What happened when we had local elections in the past? How many constituencies would Penang have? How should we conduct the elections? First-past-the-post? Proportional representation? What’s that?? And what would local councillors be paid and be expected to do? Come and check these issues out, and more, and have your say about what you would like Penang local elections to look like.

Dengan usaha kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang untuk menjadi lebih komited dalam mengadakan pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan, apa yang mungkin dibayangkan? Apa yang telah berlaku pada masa lalu apabila pilihan raya tempatan dijalankan? Berapa banyak kawasan pilihan raya Pulau Pinang akan mempunyai? Bagaimana kita harus menjalankan pilihan raya? Berapakah gaji yang ahli majlis tempatan akan dibayar dan tugasan yang dijangka untuk dilakukan? Datang untuk berbincang tentang isu-isu ini dan suarakan hasrat anda untuk pilihan raya tempatan Pulau Pinang.

Democratic Heritage Tour

Date: 9th September 2012
Time: 9am-3pm
Venue: George Town area


The journey will explore an untold history of local democracy in Penang , through a bus tour of various interesting, sometimes controversial, sites and projects that explain both the creativity and challenges faced by those fighting for local democracy in Penang. The tour will visit several places around the island ,lunch,a visit to an exhibition, ending with an open discussion . Participants are limited to 30 pax. Dato Anwar Fazal will the guide.

Perjalanan ini akan menerokai sejarah demokrasi tempatan yang tidak pernah tercatat, menerusi lawatan bas ke tempat-tempat yang mempunyai keunikan yang kadangkala menimbulkan kontroversi, yang termasuk pelbagai tapak dan juga projek yang akan membantu kita memahami kepayahan dan kreativiti yang ditangani oleh demokrasi tempatan.
Peserta akan melawat beberapa tempat di sekitar pulau, makan tengah hari, melihat pameran, dan berakhir dengan perbincangan terbuka.Diterajui oleh ahli sejarah terkenal, Dato Anwar Fazal. Peserta terhad kepada 30 orang.