SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE OPENING OF TECH DOME PENANG
16 JULY 2016
I would like to firstly thank all of you for being present here today to join in this historic occasion to mark the official opening of Tech Dome Penang, our very own Science Discovery Centre.
The setting up of Tech Dome Penang represents the State Government’s commitment and initiative to not only maintain Penang’s position and status as a globally-renowned centre of technological excellence but to also take it to the next level and beyond through innovation, research and development.
We do realise that this mission could not possibly be realised merely through the vision and support of the State Government and industry players but would require a very essential component which is a highly skilled and knowledgeable human capital. Human talent is the new oil of the 21st century. In building human talent, we must recognise that government cannot do it alone but requires a PPP model of Public Private Partnership.
The Tech Dome Penang journey was mooted back in 2011 due to concerns about the continuous decline in standards of English, Mathematics and Science among students below 15 years of age (as evidenced through studies under the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)) over the years.
It remains a major concern today as, according to their latest ranking released for 2015, Malaysia was ranked a lowly 52 out of 76 countries assessed, well below regional powerhouses like Singapore (1st), Hong Kong (2nd), South Korea (3rd), Taiwan and Japan (joint 4th).
What was alarming was that even a comparatively new player like Vietnam was ranked 12th. If Malaysia cannot even surpass Vietnam, how then can we be a manufacturing powerhouse. The urgency to return Penang's position as the Centre of Excellence (COE) for Science and Technology is now even more critical.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my utmost appreciation to all of you present here today and especially to major sponsors like Penang Development Corporation, IJM, Dell and Altera (now Intel) for your contribution for the project and also other corporate and many personal donors who have helped in the mission to make Tech Dome Penang a reality.
I would also like to thank the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) for the sponsorship of RM4 million and also for the free use of our Dome building in Komtar. Besides that, the Penang State Government had also provided seed funding of RM1.15 million making a total of RM5.15 million cash. Hence, out of the RM27.5 million raised, about RM22.35 million actually came from the corporate and private sectors.
I am particularly touched by the contribution from the general public during the “Magic of Science” road shows, especially from young parents who see the need of such a Centre to help spur the interests and knowledge of their children in Science and Technology. Thank you for sharing our vision.
Needless to say, the Tech Dome project of this magnitude could not possibly have taken off with just financial contributions and it is, without doubt, the encouragement, inputs and support from various spectrums comprising industry players, academia and various government bodies which has contributed to the Centre. Thank you all for joining in this journey to set up Penang’s very first Science Discovery Centre.
Going forward, Tech Dome will need further support from the industry, corporate sector and the general public to help ensure that its future success. Although set up as a non-profit entity, it is imperative that it remains viable to ensure that it will continue with its mission. We hope that more corporate sponsors can pitch in funds to be our partner for tomorrow – establishing a COE for science and technology for the future.
You can help by supporting the various marketing and educational programmes which the Tech Dome team will come up with or, as a parent, by bringing your children to experience the thrill of Science and Technology coming alive before their very eyes! We are very excited that Penang is the first in the world to exhibit the Digital Autopsy Machine which will only be displayed in London and New York next year. With an array of over 120 exhibits, mostly interactive, from Science Alive (New Zealand and Huttinger (Germany) and also those from locally-based MNCs and local corporations, they will surely be amazed.
Indeed, the Penang Tech Dome would not be out of place in cities like London, New York, Singapore or San Francisco. I take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported and helped make Tech Dome Penang a reality. Let us embrace science and technology by investing in education to win the future!
I am confident that, when you step into the new Centre after this ceremony, you will truly be impressed by its design, set-up and exhibits content.
I would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to thank the Steering Committee Chairman, Dato’ Wong Siew Hai and his fellow committee members for a superb job. I personally know that it entailed a lot of blood, sweat and tears on the part of the Steering Committee in pre-planning, execution and co-ordination to bring us to where we are today. However, I am sure that they would derive personal satisfaction with the final outcome of their hard work.