Good morning to you all.

First and foremost, it is truly an honor and a delight to stand before you as we come together to celebrate this festive season in our beloved state of Penang. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitudes to my local constituent office of Padang Kota, Batu Kawan MP Service Centre, and Kingdom city for organizing this year’s Christmas Celebrations.

As the theme for this year’s Christmas Celebration, “Hope is here” showcases the importance of hope and its effect in garnering the achievements we enjoy today. It also reflects upon the notion that today’s achievements were not built upon by the an effort of the state, but together as one, through the spirit of perseverance, collectiveness, and resilience. In 2020, Penang was no stranger to the worldwide shutdown caused by the global Covid-19 outbreak. Businesses came to a hold, exports cut below the usual standards, and most notably, the people suffered.

Nonetheless, with hope, we were able to bounce back stronger. From 2021 to 2022, Penang outperformed other states with a GDP growth from 6.8 percent to 13.1 percent, amounting to valuation of RM 112.1 billion. Such achievements can be attributed not only to our twin engines of growth, manufacturing and service sectors but, the tireless efforts of the people who make these engines run. Therefore, this achievement highlights that with hope and firm support from all stakeholders, Penang can achieve the impossible.

Christmas is a time of reflection, a time to cherish the bonds that unite us, and a time to spread the message of love, peace, and goodwill. As we gather here today in the spirit of unity, let us take a moment to appreciate the rich diversity that defines our state, the harmonious blend of cultures, traditions, and communities that makes Penang unique.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In 2020, it is estimated that 4.3% of Penangites are Christians. Nevertheless, the arrival of Christian congregations to Penang can be dated back as early as the 18th century from the beginnings of European settlements, particularly Catholicism in 1786 when Bishop Le Bon and his disciples had to depart from Siam (Today Thailand) to Pondicherry, India. Father Coud and Father Gernault were the very few who travelled from Pondicherry to Kuala Kedah, and found an exiled Catholic Community. While later Father Coud would leave for Siam, Father Gernault flocked to Penang under the invitation of Sir Francis Light. Thus, Christianity particularly, Catholic Services expanded throughout Penang, setting a Christian foothole. Earliest recollections of churches such as the Church of the Assumption could be exemplified here.

Meanwhile, Anglican ministries especially through the commitments of Reverend Robert Sparke Hutchings saw the establishments of notable schools such as Penang Free School and St. Georges. Christian Missionaries such as the London Missionary Society (LMS) was pivotal in paving the way for the further exposure of Christianity through seminaries towards Penang and its people.

Our state, known for its cultural richness and historical significance, has always been a melting pot of traditions. Regardless of religious or cultural beliefs, we embrace the values that each religious festivities represents. This includes, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas etc. In this regards, Penang has observed mass Christian festivities and celebrations, for example, St Anne’s Festival which saw hundred of thousands flocking to Bukit Mertajam’s St Anne’s Church. Therefore, Christmas is no exemption. During such season, Penang will be mesmerized by Christmas Carols, Christmas lights litting up, and observe the erection of the grandiose Christmas Trees at shopping malls, public areas, and at home. Therefore, it is crucial for us, Penangites to comprehend that love, kindness, and generosity are the universal languages that bind us together, and it is these virtues that make Penang a truly special place to call home.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the midst of our celebrations, let us also remember those who may be facing challenges during this festive season. Christmas is a time for compassion and giving. Therefore, I would like to encourage each and everyone of you to extend a helping hand to those in need. As Chief Minister of Penang, I would like to extend my invitation to 11 homes and welfare centres accross Penang such as St Joseph’s Home, the Salvation Army, House of Hope, and the Penang Shan Children’s Home Association etc. In addition to that, I will be contributing RM1,000 to these 11 home and welfare centres. This is crucial as our state's strength lies in the caring and supportive community that we have built, and together, we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow citizens.

As we look back on the past year, with its triumphs and trials, let us carry the spirit of resilience into the coming year. Penang has faced challenges before, and it is our collective determination and unity that have allowed us to overcome and thrive. The story of Christmas serves as a reminder that hope and renewal are possible even in the face of adversity.

With that, I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Penang for their unwavering support and commitment to making our state a better place for all. As we celebrate this Christmas together, let us reaffirm our dedication to building a Penang that is inclusive, compassionate, and filled with the spirit of harmony. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, a season filled with joy, and a New Year brimming with prosperity and peace.

Thank you, and may the spirit of Christmas illuminate our hearts and our beloved state of Penang.


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