3RD February 2024

Good morning.

With immense pleasure and anticipation, I extend a warm welcome to all of you gathered here today for the Opening Ceremony of the Discovering Great English & Math Stars (GEMS) 2024. This remarkable event is organized by the Penang Math Platform (PMP), a significant STEM centre under the governance of the Penang State Government.

GEMS 2024 represents not merely a competition or a showcase of academic prowess, but rather a testament to the transformative power of STEM education in fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. In a world characterized by rapid technological advancements and complex global challenges, the need for a strong foundation in STEM disciplines has never been more pressing.

Accordingly, I am delighted to highlight that this occasion is part of a series of STEM events orchestrated by various centres operating under the Penang STEM umbrella organization. Reflecting on the past year, we recall the resounding success of mega STEM events such as the STEM Showcase at UoW Batu Kawan, STEM Showcase at Han Chiang High School, and the Penang International Science Fair at SPICE. These events witnessed robust participation from the private sector, state and federal agencies like MOSTI and attracted tens of thousands of students, teachers, and parents.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Penang stands distinguished as the sole state in Malaysia boasting a dedicated state-level STEM organization. Our STEM centres offer a dynamic platform complementing formal education, spanning from primary to secondary schools and beyond. Through a myriad of workshops, programmes, competitions, and exhibitions, these centres ignite curiosity and passion for STEM learning among Penang's youth, paving the way for future careers in diverse industrial sectors to propel Penang further as the economic powerhouse of our country.

To this end, I would like to highlight that from January to September 2023, Penang recorded a remarkable total approved investment of RM44.9 billion across various sectors, encompassing manufacturing, services, and primary sectors. Notably, the approved manufacturing FDI inflows stood at an astounding RM35.8 billion, signifying an impressive 634% year-on-year increase. Penang has also firmly solidified its position as the leading contributor to the nation's manufacturing FDI, capturing an impressive 42% share during this period.

Moving forward, it is imperative that we continue to strive ahead with STEM education to propel Penang to greater heights. This monumental endeavour thrives on collaboration between the State Government, private enterprises, and educational institutions at local and national levels. Today’s event made possible through the synergy between PMP, Flex, and the Penang State education department, exemplifies this collaborative spirit.

Penang hosts a plethora of multinational companies (MNCs) like Flex, Intel, Micron, alongside numerous local companies and SMEs, constituting vital pillars of our economy. The support from these entities underscores the imperative of nurturing a STEM-ready workforce to sustain their and the state’s growth trajectory. On that note, I extend heartfelt appreciation to Flex for their exclusive sponsorship of the GEMS event, which demonstrates an admirable commitment to empowering our students on their STEM journey. As we progress, I hope to see more support and initiatives like these from every stakeholder.

Having said that, I would also like to extend my gratitude to the diligent efforts of PMP staff, volunteers, partners, and all contributors who have orchestrated today's event. With over 400 students from 72 schools participating in various competitions and workshops, GEMS 2024 promises to be a vibrant celebration of talent and innovation.

To the young participants, I urge you to cherish the spirit of participation, for it is through perseverance and engagement that true growth unfolds. Your endeavours today will lay the foundation for future confidence and successes.

In conclusion, I remain optimistic that the extracurricular STEM initiatives spearheaded by our centres will continue to inspire and mould the minds of our youth, paving the path for a thriving STEM ecosystem in Penang and beyond. With that in mind, rest assured that the Penang State Government will remain steadfast in its commitment to driving economic growth and development through STEM-based initiatives, in keeping with our Penang2030 vision of ‘A Family-Focused Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation.’

With that said, I thank you all and wish GEMS 2024 every success.

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