SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT YMCA 31st BIENNIAL DELEGATES CONFERENCE
6.30 pm | Friday, 29th June 2018
Red Rock Hotel, Penang
Dear YWCA Ladies, from the 8 YWCAs in Malaysia, from YWCA Kuantan, YWCA Seremban, YWCA Malacca, YWCA Klang & Port Klang, YWCA Ipoh, YWCA PJ, and YWCA KL, that you have travelled all the way to Penang with YWCA Penang to celebrate your Biennial Delegates Conference.
The YWCA which is one of the oldest NGOs in the country, I believe was started in England in 1875, then was brought to Singapore in 1885, and to Penang in 1909 by a missionary, Ms. Fairburn, and from here the YWCA has spread to many parts of Malaysia. It is truly a privilege to acknowledge that the YWCA can be considered a heritage association.
The women of the YWCA Penang never gave up even in their worst times, whether during WW1 or WW2, when their meeting place was bombed. They would pick up the pieces, look for a new location and continue their work. They moved around many places and finally settled in Jalan Masjid Negeri in 1958. Similarly, the other YWCAs in the country have your own unique stories of perseverance.
As a women’s organization, you all have managed to sustain yourselves facing many different challenges. I am sure it is through faith and commitment that has kept you all going thus far, through your motto “By Love Serve One Another”, which empowers you all on this journey.
The theme of your 3-day conference “Women Transforming Power Structures for Gender Equality”, is very apt at present time. Gone are the days when women were considered only homemakers. Today, it is a shared responsibility of both genders in all areas of work for a successful family, and if I may say so, women sometimes are able to do better maybe due to their soft mother-like inborn nature. Breaking the glass ceiling by women is now a thing of the past because women are now at par with everybody else.
I would like to mention about the Vocational Training Occupational Centre, VTOC, by YWCA KL which is the flagship of YWCA Malaysia, which trains about a hundred girls a year on various programs. I am sure all other YWCAs are doing similar work but at a smaller scale. Hopefully one day, we would be able to set up such a centre in Penang.
The YWCA Penang, together with the Penang Government reaches out to the poor and needy through their education program, which is the kindly class for the underprivileged. We also support the annual Christmas party that the children may have some joy and fun and able to interact with each other, knowing each other’s culture and celebrations.
I wish you ladies all the best for your conference which will be intense for the next two days till Sunday. Do enjoy the scenic sights in Penang, not missing all the lovely food from cendol to nasi kandar. Immerse yourselves with the richness of our cultures and heritage too. Thank you for giving me this pleasure of meeting you ladies, and with this I declare the conference open.