SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT IKEA BATU KAWAN GRAND OPENING CEREMONY
14 March 2019
YB Lim Guan Eng
Finance Minister of Malaysia
His Excellency Mr. Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt
Ambassador of Sweden to Malaysia
Managing Director, IKEA Southeast Asia
Store Manager, IKEA Batu Kawan
Board of Directors and the IKEA team
Member of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
A very good morning to all of you.
Firstly, I would like to thank IKEA for inviting me to be part of the grand opening ceremony of IKEA Batu Kawan – its first store in Penang and Northern Malaysia. This is the most highly anticipated occasion for us here too as we officially welcome IKEA into the wider community of Malaysians in the Northern Region.
Blessed with continued prosperity throughout the years, it seems fitting that Penang has taken the mantle as the Pearl of the Orient today. This progress, however, can only be sustained if we pursue a holistic and inclusive development approach for the state. For this purpose, the state government has pushed forth and is now entering into the next phase of growth where our efforts are focused on unlocking the full economic potential for the mainland of Penang.
Our quest has begun here in Batu Kawan back in 2013 when Honda first set foot in the adjacent space. The Batu Kawan Industrial Park has since grown more vibrant with names such as Boston Scientific, HP, Broadcom, Western Digital, the newly announced Micron, homegrown tech company ViTrox, Inari, Qdos, UWC, Pentamaster and many more. With the thriving industrial sector here, we also set in motion to enrich this new satellite city by incorporating the elements of Live, Work, Learn & Play in various parts of this area. IKEA, being a brand that needs no introduction and is well-loved by Malaysians, is undeniably one of the significant components which has hovered on the mind of Penangites since its groundbreaking in 2017.
Ultimately, this will elevate the prosperity of the people and state. We’ve already seen this when more than 300 IKEA co-workers were hired last year, with a majority hailing from Penang. In time, Batu Kawan is set to become a burgeoning metropolis that holds a wealth of opportunities for residents, businesses and travellers alike.
As we know, IKEA is the world’s leading home furnishing retailer and their presence in Batu Kawan, the first IKEA store in the Northern Region, will be a major catalyst in the State’s aspiration to develop Batu Kawan into a modern and intelligent township of the future.
As a well-loved brand amongst Malaysians, I am certain that together with the other catalyst projects in Batu Kawan, IKEA will provide a great boost to our state’s economy. IKEA is like a magnet for Batu Kawan. The store will not only attract millions of shoppers, but it will bring hundreds of new jobs, create spin-off business for suppliers, draw in tourists and new investors.
This success story is in line with PDC’s policy to promote and sell land to attract catalyst projects to Bandar Cassia, Batu Kawan. Over the past 11 years, the State Government and PDC have been successful in wooing marquee brands to invest and develop Batu Kawan into an intelligent and eco township.
I have on many occasions stressed that the future of Penang lies in Seberang Perai, the mainland of the state. If we were to aim high enough and to see far enough, the fact remains that the vast opportunities for economic growth and income generator for Penang are in tourism and in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions or MICE-related industry.
The Penang state government through PDC has always placed focus on the economic integration between the island and mainland. This is clearly shown by the strategic steps taken by PDC since 1970 in selecting the location of township developments on the island in Bandar Bayan Baru and on the mainland in Bandar Seberang Jaya and the most recent Bandar Cassia in Batu Kawan.
Currently Bandar Cassia is filled with 4017 units of residential and commercials that includes as IKEA, KDU University College, and Penang Design Village. Development of Bandar Cassia also involves participation from some of the leading property developers such as Eco World, Paramount and Aspen which PDC considered as our ‘Partners in Progress’.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Beyond just ringgit and cents, we value partners that are driven by a shared sense of purpose. The IKEA vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people who walk its stores is consistent with the Penang State Government’s 2030 agenda of developing a family-focused, green and smart state.
Having had the chance to step into an IKEA store myself before this, I can concur that this vision is embodied in the unique shopping experience that it presents to its customers. A trip to IKEA is unlike a typical visit to any home furnishing store. In fact, it has many attractions for people of all ages, making it the perfect destination for a great day out with the entire family or loved ones. IKEA, moreover, has a strong reputation in sustainability efforts as well.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Before I end my speech, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the business community, PDC and the national and state officials for their continuous contribution to the progress of Penang. Together, let’s preserve this close collaborative relationship that we have and work towards making Penang a model state, not only for the nation but for the region as well.