Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
Penang Future Foundation Dinner
8 September 2017, Suffolk House
The evening ahead of us marks the State Government’s continuous commitment through the Penang Future Foundation scholarship programme, in providing outstanding and deserving Malaysian students with financial support to pursue their tertiary education locally. As Chairman of the PFF Selection Committee, it is my utmost pleasure to note that PFF continues to make a difference in the lives of its 190 scholars from the 2015 and 2016 batches.
Following the recently completed 2017 Selection Process and the PFF Bootcamp, which was attended by 148 scholars, I foresee more exciting times and programmes lined-up for our scholarship recipients. In 2016, PFF organised a half-day seminar and luncheon for the scholars. In 2017, we progressed to a 2 day-1 night bootcamp held in the last week of August for all scholars to engage with each other. So while the State Government remains grateful for the generous contribution of RM40 million from the Penang Turf Club, we remain in constant search for funding. It is my hope that key industry players will step forward with their generosity and contribute towards making PFF, a sustainable scholarship programme for gifted and deserving students.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In expanding this select community of minds and talents, I have also been informed by the Selection Committee that for the 2017 batch, 29 students have been chosen to receive the Mutiara Scholar award and another 88 students selected for the Penang Scholar award. The introduction of these two distinct scholarship awards marks a departure from PFF’s earlier years but the objective remains the same - to provide assistance for those with poor financial background and to encourage the academic high-flyers to maintain strong academic performance.
Coming from diverse backgrounds and different fields of studies, PFF scholars are expected to be part of the Penang talent pool upon their graduation for one reason - Penang pulls its weight and puts its stamp solely on the strength of its people. Ever mindful of Malaysia’s increasing ‘brain drain’, the State’s ultimate aim lies in transforming Penang into a talent hub. For this purpose, we recognize that the human talent must be appreciated, nurtured and utilized to its fullest potential. Hence, Penang Future Foundation is designed not only to provide our youths with ladders of opportunity and escalators to mobility but also as a bridge that links together, our future leaders and Penang’s continuous, unimpeded progress for years to come.
Ladies & gentlemen,
Penang offers Malaysians a unique window of what Malaysia can be through an administration that practices CAT governance and clean leadership, filled with ideals of serving the people as well as upholding principles that uplift human dignity and values that give equal opportunity to live in prosperity and peace. Penang has recorded annual surpluses since 2008, this new Penang State Government has more than doubled our asset reserves to RM1.8 billion and remarkably reduced our state debts by 90%! We have the lowest debts in the country at RM65 million as compared to debt champion Pahang with RM3.1 billion, Sabah (RM2.8 billion), Kedah (RM2.7 billion), Sarawak (RM2.5 billion) and Kelantan (RM1.4 billion). If there is a gold medal for overall financial performance by a state, Penang would definitely have clinched it!
Such financial successes were achieved despite Penang spending RM3,077 million in infrastructure and development works in Penang since 2008. Such development is the reason why you see a new and livable Penang being transformed before you. We want to do more, to make Penang an international and intelligent city that is clean, green, safe and healthy. We are awaiting for you to return to the island and make Penang your home.
Ladies & gentlemen,
Penang Future Foundation would remain merely as a vision if not for the cohesive support and effort by many parties. Consisting of distinguished individuals, this dinner seeks to recognise the commitment undertaken by the Selection Committee members, as well as the co-interviewers who had taken the time off your busy schedules and supported the State Government in this important initiative. We thank especially the hardworking Secretariat members of the Penang Future Foundation, particularly Ms. Eunice Ch’ng.
Last but not least, I offer my heartiest congratulations to five PFF Scholars present here who have successfully graduated;
(a) Mr. Chin Sie Chian, Bachelor of Science (Computer Studies) with First Class Honours from Northumbria University;
(b) Ms. Lim Shin Yee, Bachelor of Science (Financial Mathematics) with Distinction from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu;
(c) Ms. Theam Xi Jin, Bachelor of Pharmacy with Honours from International Medical University Malaysia;
(d) Mr. Wong Wei Kai, Bachelor of Science (Construction Management) with Merit from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman; and
(e) Mr. Yeong You Loong, Bachelor of Optometry with Honours from Segi University.
We are very proud of your achievements. With every opportunity given to you to flourish and grow as capable individuals, I trust you will continue to excel and perform your role in making Penang better.
LIM GUAN ENG