11 September 2020

Jade Palace, Gurney Paragon Mall



Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Seri Khor Teng Tong

The President of Penang Premium Business Enterprise Association and the spouse, Yang Berbahagia Datin’ Seri Seow Kim Fong

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Seri Chuah Kim Seah

The Honorary Consul of Ukraine and the spouse

Yang Berbahagia Datin’ Seri Tan Soon Kim

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Cha Hoo Peng

The Honorary Consul of Republic of Fiji and the spouse, Yang Berbahagia Datin Adrine Teoh

Executive Committee and Members of Penang Premium Business Enterprise Association together with their spouses

Ladies and gentlemen

A very good evening to all of you.

This evening’s dinner hosted by the Penang Premium Business Enterprise Association (PPBEA) brings together a distinguished circle of guests in celebrating Dato’ Seri Chuah Kim Seah and Dato’ Cha Hoo Peng’s appointments as the Honorary Consul of Ukraine and Republic of Fiji respectively. They are now part of the expanding Consular representation in Penang, which I believe ranks among the largest in Malaysia. This is a strong testament to our reputation as one of the most progressive States in Malaysia, and it helps to further cement our bilateral relationships with our foreign nation friends.

I have had the pleasure of meeting the Ukrainian Ambassador last month and the Fijian Acting High Commissioner in July. In my meeting with His Excellency Mr. Olexander Nechytaylo of Ukraine, we discussed at length on the commitment of both Penang and Ukraine to develop and expand trade relations, investment as well as cultural co-operation. Given Ukrainian’s thriving IT industry and their increasing presence as tech developers behind some of the leading software powering products and services in the market, I hope Dato’ Seri Chuah will assist the Ambassador for more opening of cross-trade and collaboration opportunities between Ukraine and us in the coming days.

As for the Republic of Fiji, I had the privilege of meeting the Fijian Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Frank Bai-ni-ma-ra-ma, when he visited Penang for the 7th Asia Pacific Urban Forum in October 2019. We share similar inspirations towards the implementation of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) in urban centres and heritage sites, especially with regard to the adverse effects of climate change in cities. One of our state agencies, George Town World Heritage Incorporated, also had the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with Fiji’s Levuka (pronounced as leh-VOO-kah) Historic Port Town to prepare a strategy for disaster risk reduction in cooperation with the UNESCO Office in Jakarta back in 2019. I believe there are more collaborative angles that we can discover between Penang and Republic of Fiji – and I trust Dato’ Cha will do his best to help us in manifesting those opportunities.

Despite being the second smallest state in Malaysia, Penang is blessed with continuous good support from the international community through foreign direct investments (FDI), particularly on the manufacturing front. In 2019, we recorded the highest approved FDI in Malaysia with a value of RM15 billion which is also the highest in the history of the State. For the first quarter of 2020, and despite the market’s negative sentiment brought by the emergence of the Covid-19 virus, we were supported by more than RM6.7 billion in approved FDI for manufacturing – also the highest in Malaysia. We are very grateful for the confidence shown to the State, and that partly comes from the strength of our local ecosystem built by our SMEs over the years. We remain committed to assist the growth of our SMEs in tandem with the support from the FDIs, so that we can establish a robust economy that is balanced in gain distribution. We specifically rolled out the “Skim Peka PKS” earlier this year to assist SMIs and SMEs in regaining their footing from the blow of this pandemic, and we will continue to explore targeted avenues in helping our local businesses to recover.

This pandemic outbreak has created an unprecedented anomaly where all of us have been affected in one way or another. We are very thankful to our frontliners for their herculean effort in ensuring that we are prepared to address adverse situations as and when it arises. We hope that everyone will lend their hand towards achieving and maintaining Penang as a “Green Zone” state. At the same time, the State Government will continue to monitor, plan and implement effective measures with targeted focus on Penangites’ livelihood and wellbeing.

My utmost congratulations to Dato’ Seri Chuah Kim Seah and Dato’ Cha Hoo Peng for their meaningful new roles. I wish both of you the very best in continuing to help the State in building bridges with the respective countries so that we can further develop our economy, society and culture.

Thank you and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Pejabat Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang Tingkat 28, KOMTAR, 10502, George Town, Pulau Pinang