Friday, February 26, 2010

Penang state government performance

Citizen journalist Jimmy Leow asked people on the streets what they think of Penang state government's performance for 2009. In the scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate their performance?

Another KPI for the state government. How do you rate the state government for 2009? What are the effective KPI for state governance?

A state government (provincial government) is the government of a subnational entity in a federal forms of government, which shares political power with the federal or national government. A state government may have some level of political autonomy, or be subject to the direct control of the federal government. This relationship may be defined by a constitution.

A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a measure of performance.Such measures are commonly used to help an organization define and evaluate how successful it is, typically in terms of making progress towards its long-term organizational goals. KPIs can be specified by answering the question, "What is really important to different stakeholders?". KPI is a business concept found by Kaplan by using balanced score cards. KPIs are frequently used to "value" difficult to measure activities such as the benefits of leadership development, engagement, service, and satisfaction. KPIs are typically tied to an organization's strategy using concepts or techniques such as the Balanced Scorecard.

Performance measurement of the state government by KPI?

KPI is only a quantitative measurement or even qualitative measurement are actually using figure for measurement. It is subject to manipulation once the KPI are given. It is not new as performance measurement, but the American are able to conceptualized it as sell as corporate strategy products. It is actually a goal orientated performance measurement, which traditionally are quantitative measurement, KPI introduced some measurement for non-quantitative activities or performance. The best performance measurement for the state government is the state people, are the people happy with the state government. The performance measurement is not measure from no of demonstrations, or baseless feedback from a small population. It is the feedback of all population , at least the majority under democracy.

Generally the following factors should considered the KPI areas in Penang state.

1. Security
2. Heritage
3. Environment
4. Social & culture
5. Tourism
6. Industry
7. Investment
8. Welfare
9. Education
10. Infrastructure

Penang state government being ruled by opposition party,which is different from federal government. It faced critical financial constraints to handle development program. The main revenue for a state is from land and assessment from their municipality. Penang people may pay tax, the money will go to federal government. If the federal government intentionally without or restrict the allocation of federal fund, the state government is actually going under extreme constraints. Penang has no land masses to receive timber concession revenue, mining revenue, alienation of land etc. The land development in Penang ,especially island is limited, the sources for Penang's revenue is actually limited. We basically based on tourism, commerce and industry. Unlike Singapore which is an independent island state, with autonomy on finance matter, and strong investment arm to generate income oversea. Penang has no full autonomy on finance as state government, and has no investment arm oversea to generate income for the state. The only resources is the people of Penang, a service based & high tech industry to generate income for the state.

With all these constraints, it is not fair to compare Penang with other states, where there are oil revenue, timber revenue, and land conversion, and a ready source of federal fund to generate income. A constraint budget will depend heavily on cost cutting, and responsible accountability for expenditure. It is not a easy state to manage, where the expectation of Penang is high. Most of the critical success factors for KPI require federal fund,if the fund is not coming or restricted; it is difficult to fully to implement the development of the projects to achieve the KPI goals.

Federal fund are flow into the representatives appointed by federal government or may be a form of shadow cabinet, especially tourism, heritage management; the implementation also subject to the constraints of federal policies. One of an example was the unfair treatment on heritage city status, Malacca received more allocation than Penang. So Penang may have been marginalized, all Penang people have been marginalized, not only the specific group. The spirit of democracy is after election, the federal government will treated all people as equal, all states as equal; no marginalization of the state or people who voted for opposition during the election.

Penang state government need to source for alternative revenue source; and to survive under the constraint environment. The state government have to work extra hard; to be cost conscious. The state need the support of the people to go through.

Any meaningful performance measurement must take these factors into consideration for a fair review. Under this extreme constrains, our KPIs will need to be adapted to the constraint state environment.

If Penang failed because short of federal fund or unfair allocation, federal government also failed the KPIs for not fairly allocated the fund to the states.

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