Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri



9th Feb 2019
Padang Polo

A very good evening to all of you.

First of all, thank you for being present here for the official launching of the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019.

I am pleased to see so many of you here with us this evening at Padang Polo, where we are almost being fully surrounded by huge beautiful balloons. It is a great honour for me to grace this event, especially during this celebrative season. The Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta for the past years has been organised especially for the public, where it is funded by the Penang State Government. It is just one of the many events and programmes organised for both locals and visitors alike to come and enjoy. And as most of you are aware, not only are these events and programmes undertaken on the island, but also on the mainland, a clear indication of the emphasis placed on Penang as a whole by the state government.

Other than never-ending events and festivities, I have noticed since taking office in May that Penang is continuously launching new attractions. Many know Penang for our heritage, unique infrastructure, culture and of course the delicious street food we have, where you won’t get the same authentic taste anywhere else in the world. If you have not heard, The Habitat Penang Hill just recently launched their Colugo Zip, an adventure course comprising of five zip lines, one abseil and one rope bridge. This will offer visitors a new way to marvel at the beauty of Penang’s rainforest, and experience gliding from tree to tree through the rainforest. The Habitat Penang Hill sits on the fringe of Penang Hill’s virgin jungle reserve area that dates back to 130 million years old. To enhance tourists’ experience, Phase Three of Penang Hill’s Lower Station was launched just last month. The development of the Lower Station was carried out in several stages, including improvement of facilities, waiting area expansion, opening of food and beverage shop lots, hall and surau as well as an upgrade of the ticket counters.

For eco-lovers and the adventurous, Penang welcomed its first glamping resort up in Teluk Bahang. Boulder Valley Glamping Site in Penang is for those who want to try camping without sacrificing modern comforts. Set on the Teluk Bahang-Balik Pulau eco-tourism belt, this place was developed on a 10ha (hectare) site offering glamorous camping or ‘glamping’ in short, amid the unique boulders and tropical greens.

Other than these, a world-renown and much-loved brand is set to open in Penang next month! IKEA sets foot in Penang, adding on to the many attractions we already have over at the mainland. This addition is not only a much-awaited attraction in Penang, but it also comes as a convenience for many Penangites.

Ladies and gentlemen, tourism plays a major role in Penang, and it is the main contributor to Penang’s economy. Penang’s tourism products per se is made up of real and existing elements, where they have always been in existence. And this is how we are unique in what we can offer. It is obvious that Penang has been put on the world map and many are starting to know Penang well. This can clearly be seen on the percentage airport arrivals at the Penang International Airport. In 2018, total international passenger arrivals to the Penang International Airport show a 15.21% increase compared to the previous year. In fact, since the beginning of 2018, there has been a double-digit growth of international arrivals every month to the Penang International Airport which recorded 1.78 million arrivals in 2018 compared to almost 1.55 million the year before.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Without delaying any further, I wish to end my speech here by thanking the organising team of the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019 - AKA Balloon Sdn Bhd, together with the support of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) and Penang Global Tourism. Enjoy yourselves this evening and tomorrow, be awed by the breathtaking sight of these balloons and remember to take many photos!

Thank you and good night.


The Signing Ceremony Between Aspen Group and Marriott International Inc.

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
At The Signing Ceremony Between Aspen Group and Marriott International Inc.

2 February 2019
Aspen Sales Gallery, Aspen Vision City


•YB Dato Ir Ahmad Zakiyuddin Bin Abdul Rahman, Deputy Chief Minister I of Penang
• YB Prof Dr Ramasamy, Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang
• YB Dr. Afif Bin Bahardin, State Exco for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Health
• YB Kasthuriraani Patto, MP of Batu Kawan
• YB Goh Choon Aik, Assemblyman of Bukit Tambun
• Mr. Kevin Chen, Senior Vice-President of Marriott International Inc., Hotel Development, Asia Pacific
• Mr. Andree Susilo, the Director of Marriott International Inc. Hotel Development, Asia Pacific
• Dato’ Seri Nazir Ariff, Executive Director of Aspen Group
• Dato’ M. Murly, President & Chief Executive Officer of Aspen Group
• Dato’ Finn Choong, Independent Non-Executive Director of Aspen Group
• Mr. Lee Peng Cheong, Executive Director of Aspen Group
• Dato' Sr Hj Rozali bin Hj Mohamud, President of Seberang Perai Municipal Council
• Dato' Loo Lee Lian, CEO of InvestPenang
• Members of the Press, and
• Distinguished Guests.

Good Morning.

I am pleased to be here to witness the Signing Ceremony Between Aspen Group and Marriott International Inc. This marks another significant milestone by Aspen Group through this Agreement Signing Ceremony today and providing a further boost to the development of Batu Kawan, as well as to the growth of Penang. The decision by Marriott to be at Batu Kawan also reinforces the confidence of investors towards Penang. My heartiest congratulations to both Aspen and Marriott.

Aspen Group is well-known for its courage to heed the call of Penang Development Corporation (PDC) to transform Batu Kawan, which was once a hinterland, into the third satellite city of Penang after Bayan Baru and Seberang Jaya. The idea for the development of Batu Kawan is based on the concept of ‘live, work, play’. Many MNCs, local large companies and SMEs as well as SMIs have established their presence in Batu Kawan Industrial Park. Some of these companies are Broadcom, SanDisk, HP, Boston Scientific, Jabil, Flex, Haemonetics, Honda, Vitrox, QDos and UWC. The latest announcement is by Micron to establish their Centre of Excellence for SSD with an investment of RM1.5 billion.

Aspen took the call by investing on a 245-acre of land in this township to create an intelligently integrated city. The city was quickly transformed into the first smart-city in the making and made headlines through the joint-venture partnership with IKEA Southeast Asia.

In line with its vision of developing Batu Kawan into an iconic hub of the Northern region of Malaysia, I am pleased to note that many new projects and brands were introduced by Aspen Group. Now, the Group is making headlines again by its introduction of the first International Business-Class Hotel in Batu Kawan.

I believe that this hotel by Mariott will set to further enhance the tourism industry in Batu Kawan, where tourism industry has always been a major contributor to Penang economic growth. Penang has always welcomed industry players and investors around the world for the betterment of the state. So, it is not only a proud moment for Aspen Group but also for Penang to welcome an international brand - Marriott International, Inc. to our state. Marriott International, Inc., is a leading global hotel chain consisting 30 brands featuring more than 6,700 properties across 129 countries. Marriott International, Inc. is not a new name in Penang, and we are excited to have more brands under its wing to operate in Penang.

I was informed that with the signing of this Agreement, Batu Kawan will see the construction of an Aloft Hotel consisting a 30-storey tower that will feature all the high-end facilities. Strategically located in Aspen Vision City, the hotel will be most sought after with its added advantage, where the only IKEA in the Northern Region, is just within walking distance from it. This is also in line with the State’s vision to attract more global established hotel brands in moving Penang up the tourism value chain of MICE, medical tourism, heritage tourism and business tourism. Penang has witnessed tremendous growth in the tourism sector, with more than half of Malaysia’s medical tourism receipt contributed by Penang and Penang International Airport has achieved 7.6% increase in total passenger movement in 2018 to reach 7.8 million passenger movement. Penang will also host the World Seafood Congress in September 2019 and The International Congress and Conferences on Computational Design and Engineering (I3CDE) in July 2019.

I believe, this collaboration will bring in more joint ventures and business opportunities to all the parties involved that will increase the dynamism of business activities in Penang. I also hope that this collaboration will be a pull factor for industry players of international stature to invest in Batu Kawan and to play a significant role in the further growth of Penang. I wish to, once again, congratulate Aspen Group and Marriott International, Inc. and wish you all the best in this fruitful collaboration.

Thank you.


Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri




Hon. Zairil Khir Johari
State Executive Councillor (Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation)

Hon. Dato’ Seri Farizan bin Darus
State Secretary
Penang State Secretariat Office

Mr. Afzal bin Abdul Rahim
Chief Executive Officer
TIME dotCom Berhad

Ms. Nur ‘Aishah binti Md Norodin
Principal Assistant Secretary
Local Government Division

The Penang government on August 29 last year outlined its plans for the state with a vision called Penang 2030: A Family Focused, Green and Smart State to Inspire the Nation. This vision contains four themes.

The first theme is to increase livability to enhance the quality of life. The second is to upgrade the economy to raise household incomes. The third thrust is to empower people to strengthen civic participation and, last but not least, is the initiative to invest in the built environment to improve societal resilience.

The fourth theme includes the need to strengthen connectivity and digital infrastructure with the aim to integrate all smart city initiatives and technologies for digital growth.

 Internet connectivity is the foundation of digital growth and fiber optics is the most vital infrastructure. Currently, Penang is 50% fiberized with 3,217 km of fiber optic cables installed by several parties including TIMEs’.

TIME dotcom has been collaborating with the Penang State Government since 2013. Through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, TIME has provided high-speed fiber broadband to Penang Digital Library 1 and Penang Digital Library 2 which I have officially opened recently.

Today, in order to expand fiber coverage and facilitate Penang State towards becoming a Gigabit City, TIME has come with a proposal to roll out fiber infrastructure within the next three (3) years to put Penang at the forefront of the digital era.

A first for TIME, this initiative will include the expansion of coverage beyond multi-dwelling units (“MDU”) to encompass landed property and shop lots. This collaboration will also see TIME facilitating Penang’s move towards becoming a Gigabit City.

With this move, Penang is primed to ensure all citizens’ well-being through digital development. This is in-line with one of the key targets under the last theme I have mentioned earlier which is to strengthen connectivity via digital infrastructure.

In tandem with the 4P partnerships namely public, private, people and professional, the Penang State government has always encouraged any parties to work with us to ensure the realization of Penang 2030: A Family Focused, Green and Smart State to Inspire the Nation.

We would like to thank TIME for their continuous support and diligence as well as their dedication to always going the extra mile to achieve the best results for Penang.

Thank you.