30 July 2022

Datin Yeoh Phaik Suan

Chairperson of the Women and Family Development Committee (JPWK) of Padang Kota

Prof. Dr. Chong Beng Keok

Vice Chancellor of UOW Malaysia KDU Penang

Dr. Tan Lee Ooi

Head of Department, Department of Mass Communication of UOW Malaysia KDU Penang

Distinguished guests,

Members of the media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon to all.

First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organising committee from JPWK Padang Kota and UOW Malaysia KDU Penang for organising and inviting me to today’s programme, “Cultivating Family Togetherness; Yours, Mine, and Ours”.

I must say that this programme has come at an opportune time.  The Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted family lives and daily routines, affecting everything from social interactions to daily activities. Economic and mental stress have had a wide-ranging effect on many family systems, influencing family interactions and relationships, and in some cases, resulting in domestic violence.

This is evident with the continuous rise of domestic violence in our nation, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take its toll. According to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, some 7,468 domestic violence cases were reported to the police last year, an increase of 42 per cent compared to the 5,260 cases reported to the police 2020.

To make matter worse, despite its numerous benefits, technological advancements are unfortunately undermining family relationships by reducing family time, socialisation, and face-to-face interaction. Families have never been further apart in a room, texting or scrolling through social media apps during family meals and exchanging only a few words of small talk throughout the day.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Positive family relationships are built on quality time, communication, teamwork, and appreciation of each other. This bodes well particularly for a child, as individuals who have strong emotional and psychological support from their family tend to excel further in life and, in turn, have more capacity to contribute to their community, state and country.

Therefore, it is hoped that through programmes such as today’s, of cultivating family togetherness, parent and children can get this opportunity to spend time together, build memories together and enable parent-children to connect and understand one other better.

In a similar way, the Penang State Government had carried out several projects such as, Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park, the ‘WoodHaven’ park, and Traffic Garden among many others, in our efforts to create conducive environments where families can spend quality time together and further strengthen their bonds.

Aside from that, in order to address the escalating domestic violence among families, the State Government implemented the State Safe Family Policy. Penang became the first state to build First Support Points all around the state, and its data has been placed in a mobile application called Penang Stops Violence, which has received the GeoSpatial World Award 2022 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Dear guests,

As a family-oriented state, the Penang State Government is sensitive and aware that the complexities of a modern family are ever-changing. As such, in line with the Penang2030 vision, we aspire to cultivate better lives for families and for the society as a whole by placing the family unit as the central or core value in everything we do.

I sincerely hope that everyone, including government agencies, Muslim and non-Muslim religious organizations, NGOs, individuals, particularly parents, will support and join our efforts to make Penang ‘A Family-Focused Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation’.

With that, I once again thank the organizing committee for their exemplary efforts today and I wish you all a memorable and quality time with your families here.

Thank you.

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