Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
At The Opening Ceremony of The First International Penang Forum – The Belt & Road Initiative and Southeast Asia
25 March 2017
First and foremost, I would like to welcome all the distinguished and high-calibre scholars from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Laos, Indonesia, The Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, Canada, United States of America and England as well as delegates of The First International Penang Forum: The Belt & Road Initiative and Southeast Asia to Penang.
Subsequently, I would like to thank the organizers of this Forum; Singapore Global Chinese Arts & Culture Society, Hong Kong Society of Asia Pacific 21 and Institute of Eastern Studies, Peking University for selecting Penang as the venue to host this exclusive Forum, which serve as a prelude to the major Summit on the same theme scheduled in Beijing in May this year.
This is the first time that Penang is given such an opportunity to host a grand forum, which we are indeed honoured and proud to do so.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, Penang is one of the global hubs in the electronics and electrical manufacturing and plays host to over 300 multinational companies. We have also attracted China investors such as Jingko Solar(USD100 million), JA Solar(USD70 million) and Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics who had formed the joint venture with AMD Electronics investing USD436 million.
Penang is an industrial state dependent on manufacturing and services industry. Penang contributes about one third of Malaysia’s trade surplus and one quarter of Malaysia’s total imports and exports. As free trade and open market is important for Penang, China is Malaysia's top trading partner.
Penang is the friendship state with Hainan Province since 2013. George Town is also the sister city of Xiamen in Fujian Province. Penang together with multilateral relationship with our China friendship state and cities will actively participate in China's One Belt, One Road Economic Scheme and the construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Chinese construction companies have undertaken RM14.3 billion of projects in Penang to build highways, bridges, water dams and undersea bed tunnel. We hope that through the One Belt One Road Program there will be more oppertunities for Chinese and Malaysian Companies to work together.
We also share a love for heritage. China has many UNESCO World Heritage sites. George Town is also a UNESCO World heritage site. Let us cooperate together on heritage to promote these treasures of humanity.
This conference focuses on art, culture and heritage. In Penang, we see art as economic game changer. We intend to develop a RM30 million Penang Arts District similar to Beijing 798 Art District. Penang is world-famous for our street art, wall paintings and iron sculptures. We will soon have the tallest wall mural in the world at a height of 232 metres along Komtar. Penang now has 15 'Museums' including the Sun Yat Sen Museum and 15 Art Galleries, including the Hin Art Open Air Art Gallery. We are also refurbishing and restoring the Penang State Museum at between RM2 million to RM20 million.
I certainly hope that you will spend some time aside from this Forum to explore enchanting Penang. Popularly known for its diversity of cultures, renowned hawker fare, heritage trail, beautiful beaches, Penang Hill, the latest addition The Top and Tech Dome in Komtar, Penang has it all!
In addition, Penang was recently listed by CNN as the 2nd Top Tourist Destination for 2017, the Top 10 Places to Retire in the World by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, as well as Traveller.com listed 25 Best Street for Tourists to Visit Around the World Before You Die , Gurney Drive was listed at No.13.