Good afternoon.

First and foremost, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the organizing team for bringing us all together today to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the India National Army (INA) Raising Day, right here in Penang. This historic occasion not only honours the valiant history of the INA but also underscores how it resonates with our vision for Penang's future, embodied in the Penang2030 initiative.

Standing on this land, rich in history and cultural diversity, we must acknowledge that the legacy of the INA and the Penang2030 vision share a common thread of inclusivity and progress. Our Penang2030 vision strives to create a place where all citizens, regardless of their backgrounds, can thrive and contribute to the growth and prosperity of our beloved state.

Much like how Subhas Chandra Bose united individuals from diverse backgrounds in the pursuit of a free and just India, Penang2030 envisions a state where people, regardless of their origins, come together to build a thriving and sustainable community. This vision places great emphasis on holistic development, economic growth, and social inclusivity. It also encourages us to celebrate our multicultural heritage and harness it as a source of strength.

In this light, I am truly delighted and filled with gratitude to witness the Netaji Welfare Foundation and Pertubuhan Membina Kapasiti dan Intelek Sosial, Malaysia (PEMKIS) bringing the Raising Day Celebration of Netaji to Penang. This monumental event not only commemorates the remarkable life and contributions of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose but also underscores the significance of preserving and promoting his leadership and values.

What is particularly remarkable about this event is its effort to bring the journey and leadership of Netaji Chandra Bose, along with the principles and values of our Prime Minister and my own, into the classrooms of Tamil schools through the Teach Malaysia Teach programme. This initiative empowers our future leaders not only to receive a quality education but also to develop the skills and mindset necessary to become leaders of the future.

This is a significant milestone that aims to uplift and empower marginalized groups in Malaysia by providing them with an international standard of education. It is a vital step towards bridging the educational gap and providing equal opportunities for all, emphasizing not just academic excellence but also leadership development and the cultivation of core values.

The state government is wholeheartedly supportive of initiatives that promote education, inclusivity, and the nurturing of young minds. We recognize the Teach Malaysia Teach programme as a crucial step in building a progressive and harmonious society, and we extend our sincere thanks to both the Netaji Welfare Foundation and PEMKIS for their unwavering efforts. May this programme continue to inspire and empower our students, moulding them into compassionate, confident, and visionary leaders.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Penang State is unwavering in its commitment to promote an inclusive and united Penang. We established the Penang Harmony Corporation (HARMONICO) in March 2021 to foster a new concept of religious harmony in response to the challenges posed by religious diversity in today's global world. For 2023, we have allocated RM1.3 million to HARMONICO to implement planned activities and programmes.

Moreover, through the Penang Unity Manifesto 2023, the State Government has pledged to allocate RM10 million for Non-Islamic Places of Worship (RIBI) until 2028. We are increasing engagement sessions on the implementation of the e-RIBI System for online applications and providing Kirigai ceremony centres in each district. Furthermore, we are committed to constructing a new Tamil school, the 29th in Penang, as part of our efforts to promote multicultural harmony in our state.

Today, as we commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the INA Raising Day in Penang, I would like to take this opportunity to reassure you all that the State Government will remain committed and continue to champion inclusivity and progress for the benefits of all Penangites. We also call upon everyone to join hands and be part of this journey.

Let us draw inspiration from the heroes of the INA and pledge ourselves to the values of inclusivity, progress, and unity, both in preserving the legacy of our past and forging a brighter future for Penang, in keeping with the Penang2030 vision of ‘A Family-Focused Green and Smart State that inspires the Nation’.

With that, I wish you all a day filled with reflection, inspiration, and the determination to work together for a better tomorrow, and may we continue to thrive as a shining example of a multicultural and harmonious society.

Thank you.

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