Think City MD Hamdan gets UN-Habitat Special Citation award

THINK City managing director Hamdan Abdul Majeed has been awarded a prestigious Special Citation from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) for his significant contributions to urban development.


The award was presented by UN-Habitat Under-Secretary General and Executive Director Datuk Seri Maimunah Mohd Sharif at the UAB Building in Gat Lebuh China, George Town. Maimunah praised Hamdan for his impact contributions.


She remarked: “Hamdan embodies the essence of UN-Habitat’s mission to foster socially and environmentally sustainable cities and towns embedded in the New Urban Agenda.


“The aim is to optimise cities for sustainable development, outlining essential steps to ensure that cities and human settlements play a pivotal role in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am proud to honour his impactful contributions to the field.”


Maimunah, the former Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor, also urged Think City to share its experiences and strategies globally, particularly with underdeveloped cities worldwide.


Hamdan receiving the UN-Habitat Special Citation award from Maimunah as Chow (right) and Anwar (left) applaud his achievement.


Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was also present at the award ceremony, said it was no small feat for Hamdan to receive such recognition from UN-Habitat.


“It is a testament to the tireless efforts and unwavering commitment that Hamdan has poured into his work through the establishment of Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s subsidiary Think City. His passion for making cities liveable for their citizens has propelled him to create change that extends beyond Penang.


“The journey of Think City commenced here in Penang in 2009 with a vision of making cities more people-friendly, resilient, and liveable, while acting as a catalyst for change in the way cities are planned, curated, developed and celebrated.


“George Town has changed significantly since it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Under Hamdan’s leadership and the commitment of Think City, we participated, supported, facilitated, implemented, and witnessed a remarkable transformation.


“Over the years, Think City executed more than 250 projects, breathing new life into the city. The approach, building local capacity, and fostering partnerships with state government, landowners, and the community, played a crucial role in achieving positive urban outcomes,” Chow said in his speech.


Chow says the impactful initiatives carried out by Think City, under the leadership of Hamdan, have not only revitalised George Town but have also set a benchmark for urban regeneration nationwide.


Chow mentioned the key initiatives taken by Think City included the George Town Transformation Programme (GTTP), the rejuvenation of the historic Esplanade Seawall, the Penang Bay Project, the Fort Cornwallis Revitalisation Project, and the Nature-based Climate Adaptation Programme for the Urban Areas of Penang Island (PNBCAP).


Chow disclosed that the state government received an RM25 million grant from Putrajaya, now under the George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) for various preservation and revitalisation projects in the coming years.


Hamdan says the award is not just a personal achievement but the collective dedication of Think City and their shared aspiration for sustainable urban development.


Expressing gratitude to the state government, Chow, and UN-Habitat, Hamdan emphasised that the award symbolised Think City’s collective dedication to sustainable development.


“This achievement is not just a personal milestone; it embodies the collective dedication of Think City and our shared aspiration for sustainable development.


“Think City’s journey is a story of collaboration, of people coming together to shape the future of our cities. This award is a tribute to every contributor across society who has played a role in enhancing our urban spaces, making them more liveable, and sustainable, and fostering a sense of community. This Special Citation is dedicated to everyone involved in making this transformation possible,” Hamdan said.


Hamdan’s visionary approach has not only impacted Penang, but also rejuvenated other cities, including Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru.


Asked what his future plans are, he said Think City plans to share its initiatives with other local and foreign communities from next year.


Also present at the award ceremony were Zairil Khir Johari, the state executive councillor for Infrastructure and Transport; Jason H’ng Mooi Lye, the state executive councillor for Local Government, Town and Country Planning; Datuk Azhar Arshad, the mayor of Seberang Perai City Council; Lee Tit Kun, the director of Penang Island City Council (representing MBPP mayor Datuk A. Rajendran); Datuk Seri Dr Anwar Fazal, the chairman of Think City; Dr Neil Khor, special adviser & director external relations division UN-Habitat; and Prof Laurence Loh, a board director of Think City.


Each year, UN-Habitat acknowledges outstanding contributions to human settlements with the Special Citation. Notable past recipients include Emine Erdogan, First Lady of Turkiye, and the United Cities for Local Governments, an umbrella institution for cities and local and regional governments.


This year, the Special Citation was presented to Jean Todt, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Road Safety, Yucel Yilmaz, president of the Union of Municipalities of Turkiye, and Rohey Malick Lowe, Mayor of Banjul, Gambia.


Story by K.H. Ong

Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad

Video by Law Suun Ting