Speech by Penang Chief Minister YAB Lim Guan Eng for the Penang Science Council Life Sciences & Medical Health Young Laureates Award 2012 Prize Giving Ceremony (en/cn)

It is indeed a pleasure to see so many bright minds here today. I am told that the PSC Young Laureates Program is an ambitious program to nurture the students’ ability to learn independently and to communicate science effectively. I must congratulate the effort the school teams have put in to understand and communicate the science that won the Nobel Prize for Medicine 2011.

Once again, Penang Leads! Penang is fortunate to be the first to organize such an event and to be home to the annual PSC Young Laureates Program. Congratulations and thank you to the PSC Life Sciences & Medical Health Pillar, headed by B.Braun Medical Industries, for organizing this event and inviting me to share this with you.

I was also impressed by the array of exhibition held in conjunction with today’s contest. The Penang Science Council is a demonstration of what can be achieved from the genuine partnership of government, industry and educational institutions. The exhibitions today and the month-long PSC Young Laureates Program is the result of close cooperation between industry partners and tertiary educational institutions that enabled scientists and researchers to be brought in to share their knowledge and passion for science with secondary school students in Penang.

I said genuine partnership with all the stakeholders where it is not the government that calls the shots but where every partner is respected and given the opportunity and freedom to do what they do best. I had always believed that if we let the best do what they do best, we shall be on top of the rest.

This idea of a genuine partnership with respect for the expertise of the partners or what B. Braun would say ‘Sharing Expertise” is behind this bold experiment of the Penang Science Council(PSC), established by the Penang state government in 2010. The PSC is unique in that it is driven by industry in Penang, to rekindle interest in science and technology amongst the young, inspire passion for our best students to make it a career choice and to address gaps in talent development for the State.

In the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which compares international standards of reading, mathematics and science of 15-year olds, 44% of Malaysian students failed to meet the minimum standards for reading, 60% failed to the meet minimum standards for Mathematics and 43% failed to meet the minimum standards for Science. Overall, the competency of 15-year olds in Malaysia was measured to be 3 years behind the international average.

We as a nation must bridge the gaps and overcome any educational deficits together, so that not only do we avoid the pitfalls from any brain drain, but permit ourselves to scale new heights towards a high-income economy. Therefore,I am grateful for the industry’s commitment to developing future scientists and technologists for Penang. I am certain that unique programs such as today’s PSC Young Laureates Award will equip our students with the understanding of science, the spirit of inquiry and the passion to thrive in the sciences, to ensure the continuing growth of talent pool in Penang.

In the US, Americans worry about a fiscal cliff that could cause economic recession with global implications, Malaysians as a nation face a talent cliff that can hamper economic growth and cripple our efforts to transform ourselves into a high-income, knowledge-based developed country. Unless we grow and build human talent, retrain and retain them as well as attract new talent, we face the risk of not just falling behind from new developed economies like Singapore and South Korea but also being overtaken by neighbours like Indonesia and Thailand.

Penang has adopted another 3 initiatives to try to overcome this talent cliff and to attract a brain gain. Apart from establishing the Penang Science Council that organises scientific events such as the Penang International Science Fair at PISA and building the RM25 million Tech-Dome Penang – another Malaysia’s first, the Penang state government has
• provided annual grants of RM12 million annually to primary and secondary schools to seed our young at the earliest edge;
• attracted a world-class university that is run by Smith College, the No. 1 women’s university in the USA;
• set up Penang Learning Centres to provide remedial teaching to academically weak students and assist disadvantaged students by adopting new and different learning methods.

We hope to have not only the best and brightest, but also to create a rising tide of supporting talents of high standards. Only with abundance and depth of human talent, can Penang succeed in our vision of transforming ourselves into an international and intelligent city.

Penang is world-famous for our food, our asam laksa was voted as the world’s 7th best dish by CNN. But we are even more famous for another export – human talent. For that reason we are working hard to make Penang liveable and give you’re the best governance.

Already we are the most liveable city in Malaysia, first achieved in 2011 and repeated again in 2012. We also have good and clean governance commended not only by the annual Auditor-General’s Report with yearly budget surpluses and a record 95% reduction in state debts since 2008 but also by Transparency International. We shall work hard to make Penang cleaner, greener, safer and healthier.

And ensure that the freedom and openness that you see today remain for the next 20 years. Penang shall be the platform where you can make your dreams come true.

In closing, I would like to extend my appreciation again to the hard work of the leadership of the PSC Life Sciences & Medical Health pillar, its members and its partners for their contribution towards nurturing future leaders in the fields of life sciences and medical health from Penang. Let us continue to work together to build a greater future for our children.

Finally, congratulations in advance to the upcoming winners of today’s PSC Young Laureates Award 2012. For those who do not make it, I believe you are all champions here today!

Thank you.

—-Mandarin Version —

槟州首席部长林冠英于2012年青年荣耀奖(Young Laureates Award)颁奖礼上发表演讲,重点如下:

槟州科学理事会的青年荣耀计划是一项志在栽培学生独立学习及有效传播科学的活动。

2009年一项针对国际学生的阅读、数理能力进行的评估显示,相比起国外同龄的15岁学生,我国44%学生无法达致基本的阅读水平,60%不能达到数学基本水平,43%无法达致科学基本水平,总体而言,我国15岁学生的能力比国际水平落后3年。

我们必须共同弥补教育的差距及缺陷,我们不只要防止人才外流,也要努力朝高收入经济体迈进。

在美国,美国人担心财政悬崖(fiscal cliff)会引发影响全球的经济衰退,马来西亚的人才断崖(talent cliff)也会阻碍经济成长并削弱我们成为高收入、知识经济型发达国家的努力。除非我们栽培人才、再培训、留住人才同时吸引新的人才,我们面对的风险不只是落后于新加坡及韩国,还可能被邻国如印尼及泰国超越。

槟城采取的三个措施来解决人才断崖的问题及吸引人才。除了槟州科学理事会主办的科学活动如国际科学展,以及兴建2500万令吉的科学会展中心,槟州政府也有下列措施:
• 提供每年1200万令吉给中小学校,从小栽培孩子们
• 招揽世界级美国女性大学
• 设立槟州学习中心,为学术水平较落的学生,采用新的教学法,提供辅助教学。

我们的美食享誉全球,亚参叻沙被CNN列为世界第7最佳美食。我们也以输出人才出名。因此我们打造宜居槟城,为这里的居民提供良好施政。

我们已经是国内最宜居的城市,连续在2011年及2012年获得这项荣誉。我们也有良好及廉洁的施政,2008年起,我们的财政预算年年有余、债务缩减95%,不只被总稽查司称赞,也被国际透明组织表扬。我们将努力让槟州更加清洁、绿意、安全及健康。

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