AT THE OFFICIAL HANDOVER CEREMONY OF NEW SCHOOL BUILDING
SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE OFFICIAL HANDOVER CEREMONY OF NEW SCHOOL BUILDING 8 FEBRUARY 2020
YB Lim Guan Eng
Minister of Finance of Malaysia
Tan Sri Datuk Alex Ooi Kee Liang
Group Executive Chairman, Ideal Property Group
Dato’ Teh Cheng-Lim
President of The Penang Welfare Association for Mentally Retarded Children
Board of Penang Welfare Association For The Mentally Retarded Children
Member of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
A very good morning to everyone.
We are gathered here today for the official handover of ‘Sekolah Suria’ by the Penang State Government to the Penang Welfare Association of Mentally Retarded Children.
Less than two years after the ground-breaking ceremony on 31st March 2018, the Ideal Property Group has completed the construction of this new school building with an estimated value of RM10 million as a part of their corporate social responsibility effort. Whereas, the land upon which the school stands, which measures approximately 1.37 acres and holds an approximate value of RM18 million, is by the courtesy of the Penang State Government to the Penang Welfare Association for this very noble cause.
With the existing school in Datuk Keramat operating at a maximum capacity of 85 students, this new school which can accommodate up to 180 students, will act as a branch of the current school and provide the Association the ability to recruit and serve even more students. I’ve been informed that currently, an estimate of 20 students have already been successfully enrolled in this new school which is scheduled to open in June 2020. The school, will bear the proposed name of Sekolah Suria, a name that represents brightness and hope.
Just as the Penang State Government, through the Penang State Sports Council had launched the ‘Sports for All’ programme, similarly, this Government is also about ‘Education for All’. We believe in the provision of education which bridges and reaches out to all layers of the community, and in this instance, to the special, distinctly abled children.
As such it is my sincere hope that the Penang Welfare Association, together with the support of the State Education Department and the State Welfare Department, will be able to use this new school to provide good education and bring out the best in these very special children. Let us not forget that they too, have their own precious abilities.
For instance, Chelsea Werner, the champion gymnast turned model who has Down Syndrome and, Kodi Lee, the blind autistic singer who won America's Got Talent! These autistic children very often have special talents in Mathematics, Art and Music, and some ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) kids have been known to excel in the game of chess and to have creative abilities. Also, many dyslexic children have progressed to obtain university education.
Above all mentioned, whether these students proceed to excel or are trained to manage their lives on a more moderate level, I strongly believe that it is our duty and responsibility to provide them with the best possible opportunities and support to progress and move forward based on their very own abilities.
I am glad that with the very same perspective shared by the Penang Welfare Association, this school will conduct heavily subsidised programmes and training for their students, giving emphasis on living, motor and cognitive skills, language development and speech therapy. The Association is also looking at the formation of a music room and a small gym for the students, and also for volunteers, partners, therapists and experts to work with them in the provision of a well-rounded education which will bring out the best in the students and help them to live meaningful, independent lives .
In addition to that, a partnership between the Penang Welfare Association and the Kiwanis Club of Penang Central has been proposed and is under consideration, with the intention to provide training and education to the underprivileged, special needs and academically challenged youths, of over 18 years of age.
I understand that the Penang Welfare Association still has a lot of costs to cover, as they need to purchase furnitures, equipments and to manage the operational expenses of running the school. Hence, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage companies and those individuals who are able, to contribute generously to their noble and worthy cause.
Grabbing this opportunity, I would also like to commend Tan Sri Alex Ooi and the Ideal Property Group for fulfilling their corporate social responsibility and Dato Teh Cheng-Lim, the Board and the members of the Penang Welfare Association for their tenacity and dedication. Also, thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this day possible and to those who have attended today's meaningful event.
Finally, I wish the Board of the Penang Welfare Association of Mentally Retarded Children, teachers, students and parents all the very best of luck.