President of Municipal Council of Seberang Perai

“Creating new jobs and developing human capacity are not easy tasks. Local institutions and national policy makers must align local human and natural resources of the community to match both global and regional markets, and they can strive to create new jobs that fit both the local people and the place”
(Blakely and Bradshaw, 2002).

Who is Dato’ Maimunah Mohd Sharif?
How Seberang Perai’s first female mayor have much recognition from many International and Local Organizations?
Two big questions we asked for everyone when we were visiting Malaysia last month for Local Economic Development meeting in Seberang Perai.

Each day every creation and innovation invented around the world. A good leader always open for ideas to shape the city. One of the leaders is Dato’ Maimunah; she received credited for changing the social and economic landscape of Seberang Perai (SP) and turning it into one of the most livable and progressive cities in the country. Europe Business Assembly’s “Best City Manager” Award and the Planner of The Year 2014” Award by the Malaysian Institute of Planners in one of the recognitions she received.

Dato ‘Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Municipal President of Municipal Council Of Seberang Perai, Penang, Malaysia start from simple things by began building the trust of citizens. She initiated by an approaching group of women during morning gymnastic class. From one hearing to other many suggestions compiled. From there she seeks to improve the approach by using technology further. Citizen Report Apps, an application that connects people, easy to use, multiple access, without time-consuming and precise, just click directly from their smartphone. Every problem in their area, secure to access and visible for everyone. With less time, cost, and bureaucracy this technology also cut the corruption in the process. Citizen Engagement was the provision to convincing staff and stakeholders on board to have same vision and mission with her.

Today, Seberang Perai have more than ten application system for public services, including banking system that connects directly with tax management system. Everything in real-time, this was possible with community approach which also has a significant effect in reducing waste and boosting citizen engagement. The application show competency, accountability, and transparency also raise the awareness between citizen and government. Good governance is the KEY to success public administration.

Rope Walk Bagan, one of the historic area of Butterworth in Seberang Perai that have a new look under her administration. Together with her approach to community-based, she not only renew the building with the physical project also open participation from the community to fill and sell in the market with anything from antiques, various curios, herbs, handicraft, electrical appliances, shoes, clothes, toys, watches and much more. This place was the last place that we visit to see how she was implementing local economic development in Seberang Perai.