SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE RECEPTION ON-BOARD INS TIR
ON 9TH OCTOBER, 2017 (7.00 PM)
It is indeed a great pleasure to be here on board INS TIR. I am happy to welcome the four ships of the Indian Navy visiting Butterworth after a gap of several years. The visit of the Indian Navy ships to Butterworth Port is a clear manifestation of the importance that India attaches to Penang.
Penang has been the State which has seen one of the earliest migration of Indians into Malaysia from India. We are also currently celebrating 200 years of the presence of Tamil schools in Malaysia. It would be pertinent to recall that the first Tamil school was in fact started in Penang, i.e. Penang Free School. We now have a very progressive and thriving Indian community in Penang which is contributing significantly to the emergence of Penang as a development hub.
In recognition of the strong Indian contribution to Penang, we have Malaysia's only Indian Deputy Chief Minister and also a record 2 Indian state cabinet positions. We recently had the visit of an official delegation visiting India from Penang headed by our Deputy Chief Minister Prof. Dr. P.Ramasamy to the political leaders and business communities in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telenagana and New Delhi.
The Indian High Commission has also kindly arranged business delegations from India to Penang. We hope our bonds of friendship between the largest democracy in the world can be strengthened with direct flights between Penang and Indian cities. We have also had several events conducted in Penang in the last few years by the High Commission of India in Malaysia.
The First Festival of India in Malaysia saw the performance by the famous Kalakshetra Dance School in Chennai. Other events include the highly acclaimed exhibitions on Indian science and technology, an exhibition on the Chola temples of India and another one on the city of Chennai.
The Indian High Commission had also held a puppet show on the life of the great Indian spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda who, in fact, visited Penang in the year of 1893. These and other activities in Penang serve to strengthen the strong cultural links between India and the people of Penang.
One of the cornerstones of our strong relations has been in the field of defence cooperation. We have joint Army exercises with India. We have also started joint Naval exercises since 2016 with India. We have had close cooperation between our Air Force as well especially when Indian Air Force instructors trained our SU-30 pilots between 2008-10.
It is in this context that I welcome to Penang the four Indian Naval Ships including one frigate (INS TIR), two Off-Shore Patrol Vehicles (INS Sujata and ICGS Sarathi) and one Landing Ship Tank (INS Shardul), as a sign of our continuing friendship between India and Malaysia as well as between India and the state of Penang.
LIM GUAN ENG