Penang Future Foundation Dinner

Speech by The Right Honourable Chow Kon Yeow

Chief Minister of Penang


Penang Future Foundation Dinner

Olive Tree Hotel

21 August 2023

Good evening to all.

From where I’m standing, I see many familiar faces, those whose support towards the Penang Future Foundation over the years have been instrumental in keeping the State Government’s scholarship initiative a success. There is also of course, a sea of new faces, PFF scholars whom I’ve not been able to meet in person since our PFF luncheon in August 2019. Though Covid-19 made it quite impossible for PFF’s annual bootcamp and get-together to be held for the past 3 years, I am delighted that we are gathered here this evening once again.

As Chairman of the PFF Selection Committee, it is my utmost pleasure to note that PFF is now in its 9th year and continues to make a difference in the lives of its scholars. Beginning with our first batch of 63 scholars in year 2015, PFF has awarded approximately 700 scholarships, at a projected total value of RM38.81 million. This includes 45 students who were awarded the PFF scholarship in year 2022, out of which 11 were selected under Mutiara Scholar and 34 under Penang Scholar. These two distinct tiers of scholarship are catered towards providing assistance to those with poor financial background, and to encourage the academic high-flyers to maintain strong academic performance.      

While I’m delighted that 700 youths and their families have been positively impacted by PFF, I am compelled to also state the following observations if we are to ensure that PFF remains a formidable force in Penang’s human capital development.

  • First and foremost, the stark reality of PFF’s depleting fund means that we may not be able to help many others for much longer. This is a devastating concern as more and more youths are in dire need of financial assistance to either commence or complete their tertiary studies.

The Penang State Government will try to support PFF as much as possible, but there is only so much that we can do on our own. I take this opportunity to implore industry players to step forward and generously contribute towards making PFF, a hallmark of collective effort. It takes a village to raise a child, but I personally believe it takes a sound education for all to grow this nation for future generations. 

  • Next, talent retention has always been the main thrust of setting up this scholarship initiative. To date, 212 PFF scholars have completed their service bond while 211 others are in the process of fulfilling this requirement. I take this opportunity to impress upon all PFF scholars, that the fund that has been spent on you is not someone’s free fortune. Instead, this privilege comes with a responsibility on your part– that you fulfil your service bond for the required period.

Despite PFF being a Penang State Government initiative, PFF scholars are most welcomed, but not constrained to join the state’s civil service. Subject to the scholarship’s terms and conditions, a PFF scholar is also given the freedom to seek employment with industry players so long as the prospective employer is registered and based in Penang.

I am pleased to hear that many of our PFF alumni have successfully entered the working world and chart their own career paths. While it would be a logistical challenge to gather all our PFF alumni, I am happy that we have a few PFF alumni members who are here with us this evening. Our alumni’s diverse range of employers, from MNCs to locally grown companies, from academia to health services, truly reflect PFF’s objectives in trying to attract, nurture and retain talents across a wide spectrum of fields.  

  • On that note, I am made to understand that the online application window for the PFF 2023 awards is still open and will close on 25 August 2023. I strongly urge all those present, especially scholars and alumni members, to spread the word to their juniors, friends and contacts to apply for this scholarship.

Ladies & gentlemen,

Penang Future Foundation has come a long way, but I sincerely hope that with the commitment undertaken by the Selection Committee members, as well as the staunch support from industry players, the invaluable partnership will move this initiative to greater distance and create lasting impact.  I would also like to thank the following industry heavyweights - Dell, Lattice, Inari, Lam Research, Boston Scientific and Vitrox for hosting our scholars earlier as part of the 2023 PFF Day. Last but not least, thank you to the PFF Secretariat for managing this programme behind the scenes all these years.

Finally, I offer my heartiest congratulations to the 347 PFF Scholars who have successfully graduated between 2020 and 2023. We are very proud of your achievements. I trust you will continue to excel and perform your role in making Penang better.

Thank you.

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