Centrally-controlled finances and economic development policies can only take Malaysia so far. Fifty years into our nation building programme, it is certainly time to rethink the old developmental model. Decentralising power can unleash a wave of innovativeness that will benefit all levels of government.
The recent spat between the Penang Chief Minister and the State Development Officer heated up an issue that most people think about but dare not discuss – more autonomy for Penang. Always the bellwether state, Penang holds the potential for being a new model of development for Malaysia.
The best way to make Penang a sustainable and liveable state is to grant its people more sovereignty in determining the type of development they need and the freedom to aspire along diverse paths into the future.
The state has a higher per-capita income than the rest of Malaysia and is responsible for almost 30% of the total value of national exports.
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