Speech by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng
ASEAN Australia Education Dialogue
22 March 2018, 8.30pm
Distinguished guests and delegates, friends, students, ladies and gentlemen.
I would like to welcome all delegates and education sector stakeholders for the inaugural ASEAN Australia Education Dialogue to Penang, the Pearl of the Orient located at the cross roads of ASEAN.
International education has played an important role in developing talents across the world, including in Penang. Reflecting on my own experience as an international student in Australia, the friendship and the people-to-people links in addition to the educational experience were key benefits and a highlight of my study abroad journey. I am sure it is the same for many others.
Penang is a state rich in different cultures and faiths, laced with beautiful colonial and post-war architecture. The vibrant diversity of Penang translates well into our cuisines. Penang is well known as the "Food Paradise of Asia", and has received many international accolades throughout the years.
With the presence of a variety of top-class, internationally recognised colleges and universities, I believe Penang will provide a strategic location and conference venue for delegates from all over the region. Penang is also rated as the 8th most livable city in Asia.
Penang has a highly regarded industrial, tourism and medical infrastructure. It has been called the Silicon Valley of Asia, due to the cutting – edge technology used in many manufacturing processes adopted by the multi-national corporations operating in the state. Besides the traditional computer chips, many other technology companies are establishing their base in Penang, including in the production of medical devices and aviation components. This gives students a chance to pursue internships in diversified fields, and subsequently, employment.
The state is passionate and committed in the development of the education sector and envisions transforming the education tourism sector into one of the main economic drivers of Penang. As one of the fastest growing Education tourism destinations in the world, Penang has received international recognition and awards including; "World's Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in 2014" by The Guardian, UK. With international hotel chains having a tradition of hospitable excellence in Penang, students can train and gain experience in a well established service environment.
In addition, Penang is also at the forefront of medical tourism, contributing approximately 50% of the country's receipts. Opportunities exist for medical and healthcare students for training, employment and postgraduate study. With a newly emerging hub for business process outsourcing, there are myriad opportunities for students to become knowledge workers in this field.
The Penang Government through Study Penang aspires to establish Penang as a world class education hub, increase awareness and recognition of the education sector and leverage on the private sector's present and future needs. We want to match education and skills training with the ever evolving needs of industry.
We hope this event will be a fruitful one and foster discussions on challenges and opportunities that lead to a stronger partnership between ASEAN and Australia through education.We wish you a productive Dialogue in our city of Georgetown Penang and hope you will enjoy our state of Penang which is known for having the best food in the world,outstanding UNESCO rated architectural heritage and diverse natural wonders.