State Christmas Open House 2014

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Speech by YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister
State Christmas Open House @ 14th December 2014 at Fort Cornwallis

WELCOME.

On behalf of the Penang State Government, we would like to warmly welcome everyone of you to our Penang State Christmas Open House 2014. This event is being jointly organised by the Penang State Government and Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) Penang. I wish everyone here a very Blessed and Joyous Christmas.
The theme for the Christmas Open House this year is

Jesus – Prince of Peace

In a world, torn by selfishness and strife, and in a country that is often confronted by racial disharmony and religious bigotry, the message of PEACE, SALAM, 平安, SAMATHANAM, must ring out loud and clear to all our citizens, at this time of Christmas and also throughout the year.

As we read the news on the papers or watch the news on TV, we know only too well that the world is badly in need of peace between neighbours, and between countries. Hence, we must all work together and do everything we can to bring peace to everyone around us.

The message of Christmas is that God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to bring to the peoples:
“Peace on earth, and good will toward all people.”

People fight and countries go to war because they do not know peace. We can only have peace when we have found peace for ourselves, and then we share this peace with everyone around us. And this is the peace that Jesus Christ came to give to all those who will open their hearts and their lives to Him, the Prince of Peace. We can have peace with God, we can have peace with ourselves, and we can have peace with our neighbours. If everybody knows this peace, then there will be peace all around, --our neighbourhoods, our kampongs and towns, our country and the whole world will know greater love, joy and peace. When we work together for the welfare of everyone around us , and share our wealth and resources with those in need, there will be greater thanksgiving and mutual love, respect and appreciation, and everyone will be happier.

The Christians in Malaysia have always worked for greater peace and harmony among the peoples to promote the welfare and development of our country. In the past we have built schools and hospitals that are open to boys and girls, men and women, without any discrimination of race , or colour, or religion, for the benefit of everyone. Today, we still run many social services like orphanages, old folks’ home, drug re-hab centres, schools for the disadvantaged and refugees who have nowhere else to go to.

Christians and churches do this because they know they have the Prince of Peace in their hearts and in their lives, and they will keep working for greater peace for our country, and bring love and joy to as many people as we can. This Christmas Open House is one way for the Christians to share the joy and peace they have with our fellow-citizens in Penang and Malaysia and our friends visiting our beautiful country from overseas. We have again raised funds from among our churches for a special Christmas gift to three charities in Penang that are working among the poor and needy to help them in their work. This is the true message of Christmas. May God bless you with His peace this Christmas and throughout the New Year.

I would also like to share with you the meaning of Christmas - which is "sacrifice". Sacrifice is seem as negative because we, have to incur losses. However if we see Jesus' sacrifice, his loss is our gain. And Jesus gained too from his sacrifice - he gained by saving the souls from Satan.

Let us see sacrifice not in terms of immediate loss but place our trust that we will benefit when all benefits from our sacrifice.

We would like to thank the organizing committee, pastors, leaders and members of various churches as well as YB Wong Hon Wai and his staff, and other representatives from the Penang State Government and all those who have worked tirelessly to make this event a success.

HAVE A VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

Public Forum on Police Accountability

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Public Forum on Police Accountability
13 December 2014
Bayview Georgetown Hotel, Penang
Speech by Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng

• Christopher Leong, President of the Malaysian Bar
• Abdul Fareed Bin Abdul Gafoor, Chairman of the Penang Bar
• Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari, Past-President of the Malaysian Bar, Member of the Royal Commission for Police Reform & Co-Chairperson of Bar Council Task Force on IPCMC
• Dato’ M. Ramachelvam, Co-Chairperson of Bar Council Task Force on IPCMC
• YB Dr. Afif Bahardin, Member of the Penang State Executive Committee
• Dato’ V. Sithambaram, Co-Chairperson of Bar Council Criminal Law Committee
• Yap Swee Seng, Representative from Suaram
• Members of the Bar
• Invited guests
• Ladies and Gentlemen
The Royal Commission to Enhance the Operations and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police published its report in May 2005 – 9 years ago - to address challenging issues facing the Police force, among which were the “widespread concerns regarding the high incidence of crime, perception of corruption in the Royal Malaysia Police, general dissatisfaction with the conduct and performance of police personnel and a desire to see improvements in the service provided by the police”.

In addition, the Royal Commission also identified that there were too many deaths in custody, the failure of the police to investigate them and the failure to hold inquests into these deaths. These were key concerns raised by members of the public, non-governmental organizations and international organisations.
The Royal Commission recommended the establishment of an Independent external oversight entity known as the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) and who shall perform the following functions
• Receive and investigate complaints about PDRM and its personnel
• Prevent, detect and investigate corruption
• Prevent, detect serious misconduct in PDRM
• Propose measures to the Minister of Internal Security namely
o Improve police integrity
o Reduce misconduct
 “misconduct” includes police corruption, commission of criminal offence and non-compliance with legal and police regulations
o Build public confidence in PDRM

The status of IPCMC would be as an independent body established pursuant to an Act of Parliament, whereby the Royal Commission had also drafted the proposed bill.
The proposed IPCMC would consist of the following:
- 7 commissioners
- With a tenure that is limited to three years
- Members not from retired or serving police force
An Annual Report would be presented to the Parliament for updates, statistics and details of the matters looked into.
However, regrettably to date, the IPCMC has not been introduced despite the continued occurrence of deaths in custody, the high incidences of crime, the perception of corruption and the general dissatisfaction due to the conduct and performance of the police personnel. The recommendation made by the Royal Commission on the IPCMC has not accepted by the Government. Instead, Parliament passed the EAIC (Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission) which is a gross failure.

Years after Kugan's death under police custody in 2009, nothing has changed, even though the IGP Khalid Abu Bakar was liable to misfeasance according to the High Court. This failure to set up ICPMC costs human lives as shown by at least 13 in custodial deaths under police detention this year, of which 7 are in Penang. DAP believes that police custodial deaths can be reduced if there is an IPCMC.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its 'No Answers, No Apology: Police Abuses and Accountability' report released in April this year in Kuala Lumpur revealed that just 7 percent of complaints against the police force between 2005 and 2012 reached a courtroom while more than half the cases has yet to be fully investigated.

From extrajudicial killings of teenagers to custodial deaths, threats to lawyers and assaults on journalists covering demonstrations, the report gives chilling and bloody first-person accounts of police abuse and misconduct. The report without a shadow of doubt further showed the urgency of setting up an external oversight body like IPCMC. But the government is still adamant in refusing to set up the IPCMC when such oversight body has been set up in many other countries.

The inspector-general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar said that the police were not in favour of the setting up of IPCMC last year because the terms in the proposal treated police like second-class citizens. He claimed that a policeman picked up for corruption does not have the right to defend himself in the IPCMC.

Let the lawyers here deal with the police's concerns that they will be denied justice so that we can set up the IPCMC to both defend the public from abuses by the very force that are supposed to protect them as well as uphold the basic concept that the police can be held to account under the law and that no one should be given the privilege to investigate or judge their own alleged wrongdoings.

The IPCMC can also help to prevent the police from being abused and misused for political reasons such as these actions taken against PPS our Voluntary Patrol Unit and double-standards in investigating Sedition Act against opposition leaders and dissidents whilst UMNO leaders who preach religious and racial hatred escape unpunished.

Witness the inaction against UMNO ex-Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim's dangerous lies accusing the Chinese community for burning the Quran through the Chinese's religious rituals, even though Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir had earlier announced, it was done by a mentally demented Malay Muslim, who had since been arrested and sent for medical treatment. Or Permatang Pauh UMNO Division Chief Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said's false claims that the Chinese economic strength was also due some of the time to the illegal activities of prostitution, gambling and entertainment outlets when even the Penang police had denied that there were any illegal activities.

I applaud the Bar Council and Penang Bar Committee for stepping up and taking the initiative to educate members of the public and society at large on the need for police accountability as there is not much publicity or understanding on why an independent body is needed to ensure a check and balance is in place for the law enforcement in this country.

LIM GUAN ENG

Penang Adventist Hospital’s 90th Anniversary Appreciation Dinner

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SPEECH BY Y.A.B. LIM GUAN ENG, CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
Penang Adventist Hospital’s 90th Anniversary Appreciation Dinner
Evergreen Laurel Hotel, Penang
Thursday, 11 December 2014; 6.55pm

1. Let me begin by congratulating Penang Adventist Hospital on the occasion of your 90th anniversary this year.

2. Penang Adventist Hospital has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a ‘free clinic’, where the poor were ‘treated free’. Over the past 90 years, the hospital has transformed itself from the humble clinic with a mission to bring Western medicine to the Malayan community despite their different beliefs, to a tertiary healthcare facility that is much sought after by the Malaysian community and medical tourists the world over.

3. It is also heartening to note that Penang Adventist Hospital has throughout all these years, proudly continued with its tradition of helping the poor and sick. The hospital’s efforts in organising numerous charity fund-raising programmes such as the Cycle 4 Hearts event, and its collaboration with various organisations to work towards providing accessible healthcare services to people from all walks of life is indeed laudable.

4. Over the last few years, the healthcare sector has been growing steadily to become a crucial segment in the overall economy of Malaysia. Hence, it is vital for healthcare industry players to push further including improving citizens’ accessibility to quality healthcare.

5. Malaysia is currently ranked among the world’s top health tourism destinations, with over 60% of health tourists making Penang their preferred choice. A study by the American publication - International Living rated the country’s healthcare system third best out of 24 countries in its 2014’s Annual Global Retirement Index. The same study also named Penang as a medical centre of excellence.

6. Statistics from the Penang Health Association (PHA) revealed that Penang’s medical tourism recorded RM370 million in 2013. In 2012, the revenue was RM314 million, an increase of about 14 percent from the year before.

7. Let me congratulate Penang Adventist Hospital’s success at being conferred the “Highest Revenue for Healthcare Travellers, Northern Region, 2012” and the Overall Highest Revenue for Healthcare Travellers 2012” awards by the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC).

8. If one visits a private hospital in Penang, they will be amazed by the number of foreign patients seeking medical treatments here. This is due to factors such as – the quality of medical care offered by our healthcare professionals, the relatively affordable prices, as well as the “rest, relax and recuperate” opportunities available in Penang’s resort like nature.

9. Penang is currently Malaysia’s largest medical tourism destination, contributing nearly two thirds of the country’s receipt from that sector. To further enhance Penang’s position as one of the most preferred healthcare destinations, the Penang State Government hopes to work hand-in-hand with medical providers like Penang Adventist Hospital to continue delivering top-notch patient care not only to the locals or within the ASEAN region alone, but to patients the world over.

10. In closing, I would like to thank Dr Wesley Toh and the organising committee for inviting me share this milestone with you. Serve the local community and international visitors well in their healthcare needs.

11. On behalf of the State Government, we wish you a happy 90th Anniversary.

12. Thank you.