Penang conference 1

The conference brought about various stakeholders and progressive thinkers from across the region to discuss best practices in local democracy and participatory governance in the 21st century, taking inspiration from various grassroots movements, which have transformed the political landscape of countries such as Indonesia, the new president of which, “Jokowi”, has risen to the pinnacle of power thanks to his effective brand of participatory local governance during his earlier stint as a mayor. The pattern of these political dynamics is clear: regimes across the region are being confronted by the large-scale popular demand for greater democracy, facilitated by an increased political awareness as well as the usage of social media technology.

The activity in Penang opened up the opportunity for like-minded, progressive politicians to discuss among each other valuable inputs and strategies to deliver good, effective governance to their constituencies, especially in areas where social democratic forces are (or are poised to be) in position of power. The event served as a crucial platform for sharing of social democratic alternatives, with the aim of consolidating these experiences and discussions into a broader roadmap for bottom-up reforms, which will be of utmost importance to progressives in and beyond the region.

 

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