COME next month, it will be exactly one year since Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow launched his Penang 2030 plan.
There are four initiatives in the plan themed ‘A Family Focused Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation’.
In a nutshell, it is meant to transform the state to a green and smart city with a better quality of life for everyone.
The Penang government, local councils and other authorities have started using Penang 2030 as a benchmark.
And I too carry much hope and excitement in seeing what Penang will become by then.
Seeing all the smart and green initiatives like no single-use plastic, smart parking system and green building plans being rolled out, I truly have high hopes for our beloved Penang.
Come Malaysia Day, Penang will become the only state in the country to obtain full-fledged city status as the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) will become a city council.
The Penang Island City Council received city council status in 2015.
Then there is the Penang Transport Master Plan where we should receive the Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit and other highways.
There is much hope that the plan will transform the face of public transport in the state, bringing us on par with other cities.
But in recent days, it has come to my attention that there is simply too much hindrance for us to even dream of achieving the 2030 vision.
The authorities can come up with many initiatives to inch us closer to a bright first world future but nothing will happen if we do not change our ways.
With third world mentalities, how will we ever achieve Penang 2030?
Despite the smoking ban, many are still puffing away mindlessly and everywhere, people litter, not caring about our environment and cleanliness.
Many times, we can see able-bodied people knowingly occupying spots meant for the disabled.
Motorists double-park or resort to illegal parking.
Despite numerous initiatives to fix these concerns, they always return.
All these boil down to our own apathy and tidak apa attitude.
When we do not cultivate concern for others and society, civic-mindedness will never blossom.
We will always be stuck in our old ways despite all our achievements.
We put ourselves in a vicious loop.Think about it. We litter and the workers from the local councils clean up for us.
The time and effort spent cost us millions of ringgit.
Then urban flooding happens because of the litter, causing another sum to be spent to clear blocked water drainage systems.
All this money spent on waste management could have otherwise been used in progressive development.
And ultimately, no one is to be blamed but ourselves.
Because you can’t have first world cities filled with people of third class mentality.
So if we are trying to reach Penang 2030, all of us have to be in it together.
If we want to have a green and smart state, we have to change ourselves before we think about changing our environment and cities.