Speech by The Right HonourableMr. Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang in the Inauguration Ceremony of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Penang on 22nd December 2015
Let me congratulate the Ambassador of People's Republic of China to Malaysia His Excellency Mr Huang Huikang on the special occasion for the People's Republic of China in the launch of its Consulate General Office in Penang, Malaysia.
Malaysia and People's Republic of China have a long and productive relationship forged through mutual partnership and bilateral co-operation. Penang, often known as “the Pearl of the Orient”, has a long history and relationship with China and the region. Since the British first colonized the island in 1786, Penang had played the key role as global trading hub in spices, tin and rubber. The importance of Penang and China can be highlighted by 3 historical events.
Firstly, Chinese migration to Penang from the southern province of China. Secondly, prominent Chinese personalities had considered Penang as a natural shelter and center for excellence. Chinese legends such as forerunner of Chinese revolution Dr. Sun Yat Sen, spent two years in Penang and the famous plague fighter, Dr Wu Lien Teh, was born in Penang.
Thirdly, Penangites including the Chinese has adopted an international outlook in the cosmopolitan city of Penang. Penang is the melting pot for different communities living in harmony despite the diverse cultures and religions. In celebration of diversity, George Town in Penang is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage City. Penang is also famed for having the best street food in the world.
Today, Penang is one of the global hubs in the electronics and electrical manufacturing and plays host to over 300 multinational companies. We have also attracted China investors such as Jingko Solar(USD100 million), JA Solar(USD70 million) and Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics who had formed the joint venture with AMD Electronics investing USD436 million.
Penang is an industrial state dependent on manufacturing and services industry. Penang contributes about one third of Malaysia’s trade surplus and one quarter of Malaysia’s total imports and exports. As free trade and open market is important for Penang, China is Malaysia's top trading partner.
China also contributes to the infrastructure of Penang. The RM 4.5 billion Second Penang Bridge, the longest bridge in South East Asia, was built by Beijing-based China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC). The proposed RM6.3 billion Penang highway and traffic mitigation projects involving 3 major inland road works and an undersea tunnel linking Gurney Drive and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth will be undertaken by China Railway Construction Corporation International (CRCC) and Beijing Urban Construction Group(BUCG). Further the RM1.2 billion Mengkuang Dam is built by China International Water & Electric Corp. Sdn Bhd. Lately E&O awarded the RM2.3 billion land reclamation project in Tanjung Pinang to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). The total construction projects awarded to Chinese based companies amounted to RM14.3 billion. However we do noted that there are no Chinese real estate companies like in other states.
Penang is the sister city with Xiamen since 1993 and also a friendship state with Hainan Province since 2013. Penang together with multilateral relationship with our China sister city and friendship state will actively participate in China's One Belt, One Road Economic Scheme and the construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
In times to come, we may see further enhancement to promote cultural, economic, investment and trading cooperation between Penang and the relevant provinces and cities in China with the inauguration of Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Penang. We hope that visa applications can also be processed here. With the opening of the Consulate-General's Office, we hope that there can be an annual China Cultural and Food Festival here in Penang to strengthen people-to-people links between China and Penang. Penang State Government is ready to provide our fullest support and assistance to the Consul General.