Speech by Chief Minister of Penang Unity & Diversity Art Exhibition 16 September 2017
Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
Unity & Diversity Art Exhibition
16 September 2017
Penang is known not only for our internationally renowned heritage enclave of George Town but also for the celebration of diversity and harmony among different ethnic, communities and faiths in both the island and the mainland. This multi-cultural mosaic of harmony and diversity is one of the principal reasons why George Town was granted the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Understanding and practising the concept of unity and diversity is a powerful means to achieve a caring, democratic and united society, not just for Penang but for the whole of Malaysia. All Malaysians should unite to defend common values that make Malaysia great. First and foremost defending our basic freedoms such as upholding freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, as well as freedom from fear.
Today freedom of expression is reflected in the arts in this year’s 60th anniversary of our National Day, through a special arts exhibition "Unity and Diversity". In the spirit of Merdeka, of being Malaysian, Penang State Government’s commitment in supporting the arts and culture in the state rests on our belief in unity and diversity.
Last year, we have identified 9.2 acres of Penang Development Corporation (PDC) land at the Gat Lebuh McCallum - Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, to become the Penang Arts District. Our aim is to build the single largest collection of art galleries and cultural museums, creative boutiques, arts schools and workshops in Malaysia.
Not only Penang Arts District is expected to revitalise the McCallum area, currently a neighbouring sleepy downtown to the Georgetown UNESCO heritage zone, it will also provide space for artists and arts lovers. Moreover, this project will bring more employment opportunities as well as other related benefits to both the people and the state.
We want Penang to become the destination of choice for artists and art lovers, for locals and tourists in the region. I am pleased to note that the arts and creative communities of Penang have given their full support for this project.
I have to admit that funding for the arts is always a challenge. It is never enough but we try to do whatever we can with our limited resources. I think we have actually put in much more than have ever been done before, not only in the arts but also in education.
We cannot depend solely on the government to fund the arts. I believe in partnerships. We are planting seeds and trying to let them grow, but it is the private sector that can make it bloom and flourish together with the artists themselves.
Welcome to the “Unity and Diversity” art exhibition in conjunction with our 60th anniversary of Merdeka.
Lim Guan Eng
Chief Minister of Penang