The 22nd Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship 2015

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang During The 22nd Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship 2015

Good evening.

Welcome each and everyone of you from 22 countries to the 22nd Penang International Ballroom Dancing Championship – the premier ballroom dancing competition in Malaysia.

Next year, The Penang State Government will host the World Dance Council Professional Latin World Championship on 25th November 2017 at the SP Setia SPICE. This championship was held in Tokyo 12 years ago. With the highest prize money of USD 150,000 (one hundred and fifty thousand) for all the first 24 couples, we expect the participation of the world best competitors from 35 countries.

I am certain the competitors tonight will dance their way into your hearts and delight us with their incredible dance moves.

I commend the Organizing Committee for their hard work and dedication in staging tonight's international event and thank all the sponsors, international adjudicators, competitors, officials and volunteers.

I wish all of you enjoy your stay in Penang tasting the best hawkers food and visiting our UNESCO World Heritage City of George Town.

To everyone here keep your feet on the dance floor but reach for the stars. Good luck!

Thank you.

The Georgetown Literary Festival

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang at The Georgetown Literary Festival

27th November 2015

Good evening.

First of all, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you to Penang. Today, Penang is proud to host the fifth edition of the Georgetown Literary Festival.

Since its inaugural edition in 2011, the Georgetown Literary Festival has gone a long way in establishing itself as the platform for authors, poets, publishers, readers, and book lovers to share their works, exchange ideas, and discuss literary works.

This three-day festival strives to cultivate creativity and appreciation of literature, encourage freedom of expression, and promote reading habit among Penangites and Malaysians in general.

Once a year, the Georgetown Literary Festival transforms Penang into a global city of ideas, where readers, writers, and book lovers from different parts of the world gather at the heart of Georgetown to engage in deep conversations about their common passion that is literature. The Georgetown Literary Festival is the biggest literary event in northern Malaysia and is an annual literary haven and meeting place for the like-minded.

The theme of this year’s festival, “We Are Who We Are/Are We Who We Are?” couldn’t be more appropriate. Malaysia is at a critical crossroad. As we seek to resolve the current crises and shape a new future, we have to contemplate who we are as a nation, and what we want to become in the future.

We arrive at the idea for the future through our understanding and reflection of the past. We achieve this not by some dictation or submission to the will of the authority, but through careful deliberation and acceptance.

Only in a free and vibrant society, that we can truly achieve such an understanding and arrive at the idea of who we are and who we want to be as a nation and as a people. It is a dangerous thing to ignore our history and identity to the point that they are twisted to fit the interests of the powerful in the present moment. As George Orwell says, “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

Speaking of George Orwell, we are once again reminded of the power of words contained between the pages of a book. A great book of literature can convey a powerful message which is not possible in other medium of expression.

Maybe it is time for us to read and reread George Orwell’s books. At a time of crackdown on political dissent, strict media control, and manipulation of state machinery, Animal Farm and Nineteen-Eighty-Four are such an accurate depiction of our society and who the Big Brother is. To all those who continue to brave against the tyranny of the authority, including our very own cartoonist Zunar who is slapped with multiple charges for sedition, the words of George Orwell couldn’t be more accurate: “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Ladies and gentlemen,

Penang has always been a vibrant place for intellectual discussions, cultural melting pot, and exchange of ideas. For over the past two centuries, Penang has been a cosmopolitan city that attracts and inspires creative intellectuals, artists, and scholars. It was a place of refuge for Dr Sun Yat-Sen, a fertile ground for the Muslim reformist movement known as Kaum Muda, and the birthplace of modern printing presses in Malaysia. In fact, William Roff, a prominent scholar of Southeast Asian history, mentioned that Penang once had more printing presses than the rest of the Malay Peninsular combined!

The state government is committed to revive Penang’s reputation as the birthplace of the intellectuals and a premier literary scene in Asia. We will strive to make literature accessible and enjoyable to the people, and will continue to support this festival for as long as we can.

In this spirit, I would like us to ponder this question, “Are Malaysians reading enough books?” I’m not just talking about reading textbooks or revision books to pass the exams or reading the newspapers. We ought to encourage people to read real books, fiction and non-fiction. We can learn from the experts here today. And do not forget the book stores.

Books are fundamental engines of advancement. Reading is fundamental. It fuels the fires of intelligence and imagination of a child and even adults. Reading is therefore transformative.

That is why the Penang State Government is proud to support the Georgetown Literary Festival. We actively provide a platform and support to both local and international writers, as well as independent publishers and bookstores. In fact, the official bookstore of this festival is Penang Gerak Budaya, an independent bookstore which is situated along Jalan Masjid Kapitan and operated by a handful of dedicated staff and volunteers.

It is important to appreciate our creative talents and pave a way for their success. I hope that this festival sends a loud and clear message that Penang will always be at the forefront of encouraging and supporting creative talents. To all artists, writers, and performers, you have a place here in Penang!

I’m pleased to hear that we have more than 30 writers and 5 special performances throughout the festival. I would also like to thank and congratulate the team behind this festival for putting together such a wonderful literary festival. To all our sponsors, especially Penang Global Tourism, thank you for your generous contribution to ensure the success of this festival.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me end with a quote from A Game of Thrones, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” And if I may add, “a brave man dies but once, a coward dies a thousand deaths – so don't be a coward, just read.

Last but not least, to all our guests, authors, and performers from Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, United States, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, and Australia, welcome to Penang!

Thank you.

The Launching Of The Official Website Of The German Dual Vocational Training Programme

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
 The Launching Of The Official Website Of The German Dual Vocational Training Programme
26 November 2015, Komtar, Penang

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for including the launch of the official website of the German Dual Vocational Training Programme in Penang into your busy schedules today. In particular, I am very pleased to see representatives of the participating local companies as well as representatives of the training provider, the Penang Skills and Development Centre (PSDC).

The GDVT programme is designed to bolster vocational training in Penang and to up-skill the local workforce with international recognized skills. Today's launch of the GDVT website,, marks an important step to attract the programme to future apprentices.

This programme of an advanced diploma in vocational training is truly unique in Malaysia, because while working at the companies, trainees gain practical knowledge from their senior colleagues and theoretical knowledge at the training provider. Being recognised by the Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran (JPK), the GDVT programme is fully integrated into the Malaysian education system. Additionally to that, graduates are rewarded with a German Chamber certificate, which is recognised for its high quality not only in Germany, but also throughout the world.

So far, we have seven companies in Penang joining the programme. Namely: B. Braun, Carsem Malaysia, Dynacraft, Inari, OSRAM, Robert Bosch and Southern Steel. The GDVT introduces the best vocational training in the world to Penang and Malaysia, the secret behind German economic miracle.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The key feature of the programme is WORK, EARN AND LEARN. Apprentices are hired by their host companies and receive remuneration for their work. Theoretical and Classroom training will be held on weekends at the PSDC. Until now, no other programme in Malaysia offers this kind of training.

The State Penang Government supports this program with a RM2 million grant to sponsor between 500 – 600 students on their diploma fees and the agreement with PSDC was inked on 18th of September. We hope that this 42 months advanced diploma course will help to brand Penang's work-force as world-class.

The words "Made in Germany" is identified as a seal for high quality products throughout the world, it is now our aim to establish "Trained in Penang" as a new benchmark for high quality training in Malaysia.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Through this website, prospective students in Penang and later throughout Malaysia can now apply online for this programme. After uploading your CV and personal details, this information will be distributed through PSDC to the participating companies. After this, the applicants will be assessed for potential employment. The programme has three intakes per year. Each intake is around 20 students but can go up to 30 students. They have 90 students maximum in one year.

As GDVT requires industry training to get 2,000 students participating, this essentially requires either existing employees to be trained and/or new recruits being hired into the companies. Therefore we need more programmes and more participating companies. Currently we only have 7 host companies and 1 programme.

We are also working with representatives from the industry (SAMENTA, FREPENCA, FMM, Chambers of Commerce) and PSDC to have more companies joining the GDVT programme. This website should introduce and raise the awareness of the GDVT programme to school leavers of local schools with interest in technical education.

I am pleased to encourage students and school leavers now, to apply for the second intake in November this year or following intakes next year.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me thank all participating companies again for making this programme possible in Penang. We are not only training new talent but also raising productivity. Hopefully this will help Penang to increase our productivity by more than the national average of 2 %. Let's all work together and make "Trained in Penang" a seal for high quality and sustainable learning a reality.

Thank you.