In Malaysia, the adoption of the Malaysia Incorporated Policy in the 80’s has inspired many local governments to form joint-venture partnerships with private sector or NGO’s in housing and the provision of urban services. These partnerships have improved the quality of life and standard of living of its people, besides addressing social problems like poverty and squatters. These partnerships have also generated much needed revenue to the local government that can be used to further improve its services. Malaysia enjoys a three-tiered system of government comprising the Federal Administration, State and Local Government level of administration. At its apex, is a constitutional monarchy. Its parliamentary democracy allows the citizenry to participate in national elections since its independence attained in August, 1957. The founding fathers of this country saw it fit to put in place a Constitution which guarantees and safeguards ethnic, social, religious, and cultural rights and fundamental liberties given the diverse multi ethnic background of the populace.
Following Independence, Malaysia’s economic landscape transformed from a largely agriculture export-based economy to a manufacturing hub for Asia by the 80’s. Further to that dream, Malaysia’s aspiration to become a fully developed country by year 2020 presupposes the nurturing of an excellent civil force of public employees of commendable attitude to bring about a more efficient delivery system. Steps are already afoot to transform public employees into k-workers who are customer-focused, results and performance driven, responsive, accountable and innovative. Human capital development and human resource training for capability and capacity building can be seen as complementing the Malaysian government’s conscious efforts towards an E-government.
Likewise, the exploitation of smart partnerships and strategic alliances between local governments (G to G); between local governments and non-governmental organizations/service clubs are attributes of successful partnerships for basic services such as water, education, electricity, health and transport. Throughout these partnerships opportunities are made available for sharing knowledge, best practices, technologies, information exchange and networking for more smart partnerships. Innovative thinking on the part of the Malaysian government has fast tracked the forging of partnerships with the private sector in the disposal of wastes and sewerage treatment.
The Local Agenda 21 Petaling Jaya - a three year project on Lake and River Rehabilitation Programme initiated in 2002, jointly undertaken by The Municipal Council of Petaling Jaya, the Global Environment Centre (GEC) and Malaysian Anglers Association. Funded by the UNDP – GEC Small Grant Fund, this project focuses on rehabilitating and sustaining the management of lakes within Kelana Jaya. As a result of innovative thinking and smart partnership, these lakes which were formerly waste dumpsites, have been transformed into public parks, walkways, leisure and recreation spots for the local community to engage in healthy outdoor family activities. In view of global concerns regarding environment, Malaysia shares the views of those developed nations regarding ecologically sustainable development. The impact of global warming is a clear and potent threat. It is noteworthy that as senior local government policy-makers and practitioners, we are duty bound in our commitment to continually plan initiatives and provide better local government services and delivery through innovation and partnerships so as to confer lasting benefits on the local communities.