The Penang State Christmas Open House

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
During The Penang State Christmas Open House
on 3rd December 2017 (@ 7.30pm)
at Fort Cornwallis


On behalf of the Penang State Government, we would like to warmly welcome every one of you to our Penang State Christmas Open House 2017, with the theme Grace and Truth Among Us.

As many of you know, this is an annual event jointly organised by the Penang State Government and Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) Penang. I wish everyone here a very Blessed and Joyous Christmas.

This is one reason why Christians celebrate Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the personification of Truth that has come into the world.

Together with Truth, we need Grace. For too long, people all over the world try to proclaim what they believe to be truth and stamp it upon others through violence and war. Jesus the Son of God came with both Truth and Grace. He was gentle, humble, healing, compassionate, and He came for everyone.

In our own country Malaysia, we need voices that will proclaim healing among communities, compassionate to the poor and needy, love for all and hatred towards none. We want to build bridges across communities and be friends for one another. This is the message the Christians have to share with our country and our Penang State.

In the recent rainstorm on 4-5 Nov 2015, the worst in Penang's history, we are touched by the spirit of humanity and harmony amongst races of different religious where non-Muslims & Muslims opened their doors and their hearts to each other. We witnessed suraus giving shelters to non-Muslims in Free School Flats on the island and the Bukit Mertajam Nine-Emperor God Chinese Temple giving shelter to Muslims, displaying the true Malaysian spirit that proves why George Town is an UNESCO World Heritage city.

We would like to thank the Organizing Committee, pastors, leaders and members of various churches represented here, as well as YB Wong Hon Wai and his staff, and all those who have worked tirelessly to make this event a success. Apart form the State Government sponsoring RM93,000, we wish to thank the Management of Fort Cornwallis for the use of this place for tonight's celebration.

We especially commend the churches that have prepared for many weeks to present the items that reflect the spirit of Christmas tonight.

You may notice that this year the churches in Penang are not giving out gifts to various charities as they had done in the past. They have made a deliberate decision to channel their available funds to help in the flood relief, to the families affected by the flood last month --the cleaning up of houses and their neighbourhoods, buying of food and clothing, furniture and other household necessities.

The State Government has launched a ”Penang Bounce Back” programme of RM105 million which serves to rehabilitate and rebuild the lives of the people who were affected by the worst rainstorm and floods in the history of the state. The three main challenges faced by the state following the disaster: cleaning work, repairs of damaged properties, and replacements of what can’t be repaired.

Under the ‘Penang Bounce Back’ programme, the state government will be spending RM50 million as compensation money (in the form of) one-off RM500 to each household that was affected by the floods.

The State Government also announce that the total donation collected would be totally transferred to the flood victims with an additional RM200 for each victim. This will incur an extra RM20 million. In the event the collection of donation does not reach RM20 million, the State Government will top-up the balance (to reach that figure). This effectively brings the one-off compensation money to RM700 per application.

Furthermore, as the cleaning works for most households will involve a lot of water, the Penang Water Supply Corporation has agreed that for the next water bill cycle of two months, all Water Conservation Surcharge will be exempted. All domestic consumers in Penang will also get a 50 per cent discount on their water bill while commercial consumers will get 25 per cent discount. For this purpose, PBAPP will spend RM15 million.

Thirdly, the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) will be giving a 10% discount on assessment fees for all properties. This will cost the state government RM40 million. At the same time, all lost or damaged documents such as land titles would be replaced without any charges.

All these measures which come under the ‘Penang Bounce Back’ programme will cost around RM105 million.

For non-muslim places of worship affected by flood, a maximum of RM50,000 will be available for repair works. The State Government has given RM30 million finding for RIBI since 2008. This does not include land given.

We give thanks to our Almighty God for the way the Penang people have come together, work with one another to help those in need. This is GRACE.