THE FIRST THREE years after the launching of Penang2030 in August 2018 have seen an incorporation of its ideas into policy thinking, and a strong socialising of its goals in the public service. The challenges Covid-19 poses have provided further motivation for Penang as a whole to realise the objectives of Penang2030. It was a reality check, but luckily, plans to prepare Penang for the digital age were already underway.
The Penang state government established Digital Penang in the midst of the pandemic to align diverse digitalisation efforts within the state apparatus, and initiated certain institutional reforms to improve policy-making processes and proper monitoring of project implementation. Furthermore, the state commissioned the Happiness in Penang (HIP) Index to be carried out every third year by Penang Institute to gain proper feedback from the public concerning Penang’s development. The establishment of Digital Penang and the Happiness in Penang (HIP) Index are in fact two of the four foundational projects announced in the Penang2030 Guide published in 2019.
Phase 2: Accelerating Penang2030
For Penang2030 to be meaningful to everyone, it is important that it has an impact on their lives, that positive change is visible to them, and that they feel that they themselves can participate and make a difference.
Phase 2 of Penang2030 — Accelerating Penang2030 — is three-pronged. Firstly, “Placemaking Initiatives” in the state are being identified as focal points for positive efforts to develop Penang as a family-focused clean and green home for its inhabitants. Secondly, “Community-building Initiatives” aimed at engaging and empowering the population as a whole are underway, bringing agencies and elected representatives together for broad and deep impact on society. Finally, the “Industry Engagement Initiatives” signify a tripartite effort between government, civil society and the private sector to build further on Penang’s manufacturing ecosystem, broaden our investor base and prepare for the digital future. Together, these contribute to the remaining two foundational projects in the Penang2030 Guide concerning green connectors and SME advancement.