Speech by CM@ Penang Future Foundation’s Luncheon(e/c)

20 August 2016, E&O Hotel

*YB Zairil Khir Johari, Member of Malaysian Parliament for Bukit Bendera (ETA: 1 pm)
Distinguished Members of the PFF Selection Committee,
PFF Scholars and invited guests.

A very good afternoon to all.

As Chairman of the Penang Future Foundation’s Selection Committee, I am undoubtedly pleased to meet the first batch of PFF Scholars today. These 51 scholars who are present in this ballroom, are part of the 63 recipients selected out of almost a thousand applications received last year. My heartiest congratulations to each of you.

Coming from a select range of fields of study (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Accountancy) in public and private universities as well as diverse backgrounds, our scholars are outstanding and deserving beneficiaries of the Penang Future Foundation scholarship programme. This programme is a Penang State Government initiative which thrives on contributions from private sectors and donors. In this respect, we wish to acknowledge the RM40 Million contribution from the Penang Turf Club. Through this partnership, it enables us to assist young Malaysians, particularly Penangites, to be financially secure as they pursue tertiary education in their chosen fields.

Ladies & gentlemen,
Despite lacking natural resources and bereft of federal government funding, the Penang State Government is focused on making Penang a model of good governance and clean leadership to develop Penang into an entrepreneurial and welfare state. This contrasts with the present governance model of crony capitalism and corruption. Penang has managed to prosper by relying on good and clean governance, building our human talent and relying on the private sector and civil society in a framework of Public Private Partnership (PPP). With the state government provide either the seed money or funding the entire project/initiative, we invite the private sector to invest either in funds or expertise on sustainable development.

Despite being publicly funded, many of these projects/initiatives are run by the private sector or civil society, with minimal or no interference from the state government. The RM20 million Penang Science Café project to give free classes to kids in applied science and robotics, the RM28 million Tech Dome of Penang to rekindle interest in science and technology, the RM 6 million German Dual Vocational Training scheme offering free 42-month advanced diploma courses where students learn on the job and work at factories that is recognised even in Germany, the new RM3 million Penang Digital library, the building of a RM1 billion fish farming on the sea industry out of nothing in 2008, and even the annual George Town Festival showcases the successes of Penang’s entrepreneurial state model.

The Penang State Government is simultaneously continuing its effort to transform Penang into an international and intelligent city that is a location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists and a habitat of choice for residents who desire sustainable living. Penang recorded RM 8.2 billion in investments in 2014, a 110% increase compared to RM 3.9 billion in 2013. For the 8 years period between 2008-2015, Penang recorded an investment of RM 55 billion, a 90% increase compared to the previous 8 years period 2000 to 2007 of RM 29 billion.

Ladies & gentlemen,
Penang is also a welfare state in not forgetting about the poor and disadvantaged. Since 2008, more than RM400 million has been paid out to schools, senior citizens, new born babies, single mothers, the disabled, housewives, taxi drivers, fishermen, trishaw riders, primary, secondary and university students. We devote 12% of our budget annually in cash aid and even guarantee a minimum monthly household income of RM790 by topping up the income of those who earn less than RM790. In other words, if your monthly household income is RM600 per month, the state will pay RM190 every month. Perhaps this is why Penang’s Gini coefficient of income inequality has been reduced from 0.42 in 2009 to 0.364 in 2014, an improvement of 13% over 5 years, as compared to the national average of 0.401.

Our RM500 million public and affordable housing programme of 26,255 units, the largest ever by any State Government in history, has attracted widespread interest as shown by the huge crowd response to our recently held affordable housing expo in Prangin Mall.

The entrepreneurial and welfare state is only possible because we record annual budget surpluses through clean administration. Penang’s CAT administration of Competency, Accountability and Transparency has allowed our reserves to increase from RM850 million to nearly RM1.6 billion in 8 years. Penang’s government debt has been reduced by 90% to only RM69 million – the lowest in Malaysia. Further Penang’s unemployment rate of 1.5% offers many job opportunities.

Ladies & gentlemen,
I’ve mentioned earlier on ‘building our human talent’. The foundation of the Penang State Government’s commitment to this important scholarship initiative lies in a simple truth – Penang pulls its weight and puts its stamp solely on the strength of its people.

Ever mindful of Malaysia’s increasing ‘brain drain’, the State’s ultimate aim lies in transforming Penang into a talent hub. For this purpose, we recognize that the human talent must be appreciated, nurtured and utilized to its fullest potential. We realize that abundance of talent is irrelevant when infinite potential is hampered by, among others, inadequate funding. Similarly, we acknowledge talent is irreplaceable when our talented young stars leave our shores for a better future elsewhere. Hence, Penang Future Foundation is designed not only to provide our youths with ladders of opportunity and escalators to mobility but also as a bridge that links together, our future leaders and Penang’s continuous, unimpeded progress for years to come.

In reaching for the stars, we must not forget to keep our feet planted firmly on the ground. The scholars who are here today would have met and remembered my fellow Selection Committee members from your interview selection process last year. Consisting of distinguished professionals, be it academia or industry, this luncheon is also in appreciation of the following individuals’ commitment towards the Penang Future Foundation:
(a) Dato’ Seri Nazir Ariff,
(b) Dato’ Daisy Ooi (who is unable to be with us today);
(c) Mr. P. Ramakrishnan (who is unable to be with us today); and
(d) Ms. Loo Lee Lian, General Manager of investPenang
as well as our three newly appointed Selection Committee members –
(e) Emeritus Professor Dr. Lim Koon Ong, former Deputy Chancellor from Universiti Sains Malaysia;
(f) Dr. Lim Kim-Hwa, CEO and Head of Economics Studies of Penang Institute. He is also a Fellow in Finance and Financial Reporting from Cambridge University; and
(g) Dato’ Danny Goon.

I also would like to extend my sincere appreciation to each and every co-interviewer who is present for having taken the time off your busy schedules and supported the State in this important initiative. Thank you as well to the hardworking Secretariat members of the Penang Future Foundation for your tireless effort in running the scholarship programme as well as organising today’s luncheon.

Last but not least, I offer my congratulations to three PFF Scholars who have successfully graduated with First-Class honours;
(a) Mr. Tan Kean Tiong, Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia;

(b) Mr. Cheong Pei Bin, Bachelor of Computer Science from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman; and

(c) Ms. Tan Sheu Yeu, Bachelor of Computer Science (Software Engineering) from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

I have also been informed that both Tan Kean Tiong and Cheong Pei Bin have entered the working world and are now employed by companies in Penang. We are very proud of your achievements and with several other scholars graduating in the near future, this will mark the first of many milestones for the Penang Future Foundation.

With every opportunity given to you to flourish and grow as capable individuals, it comes with a responsibility for you to excel and perform your role in making Penang better.

Thank you.

—-

槟州首席部长林冠英在槟城未来基金的午宴上发表演讲,重点如下:

尽管缺乏天然资源,并遭联邦政府一次又一次的剥夺属于槟城的拨款,槟城政府现在应该要致力于打造槟城成为良好施政及廉洁领导的模范州,将将槟城打造成一个创业及福利州。这将与国阵的朋党资本主义及贪污形成强烈对比。槟城成功地凭借良好施政继续繁荣,我们栽培人才,在公私合作伙伴的框架上依赖私人界及公民社会的协助。州政府提供种子基金或资助整项计划,在永续发展方面,我们邀请私人公司投入资金或专才。

尽管是公共投资,很多计划或项目还是由私人界或公民社会进行,州政府极少甚至不干预。价值2000万令吉的槟城科学咖啡店计划提供孩童免费的应用科学及机器人制作训练;价值2800万令吉的槟城科学馆点燃科学工艺的兴趣;600万令吉德国双元教职培训计划提供42个月的高级文凭课程,让学生可以在工厂边做边学,德国也承认;300万令吉的槟城数码图书馆,2008年从无到有价值10亿令吉的海上渔场,还有每一年的乔治市节庆都展现了槟城做为创业州的模范。

槟州政府将继续努力为槟州推动转型致国际智慧城市,成为投资者、游客、及想要一处宜居者的首选。槟州在2014年共吸引了82亿令吉的外资,同比2013年的39亿令吉,成长了110%。在2008年至2015年期间,槟州获得的总投资额为550亿令吉,比起2000年至2007年的290亿令吉,多出了90%。

槟城也是一个福利州,我们没有遗忘穷苦及弱势群体。自2008年,我们拨出超过4亿令吉的援助给学生、乐龄人士、新生儿、单亲妈妈、体障人士、家庭主妇、德士司机、渔民、三轮车、中小学至大学的学生。我们在年度预算案中拨出12%在现金援助,甚至通过加额补贴,确保月入少过790令吉的家庭获得790令吉。换句话说,如果你的家庭月入600令吉,州政府每个月加额190令吉给你。这就是为什么槟城在贫富悬殊的基尼系数从2009年0.42减少至2014年0.364,在5年内进步了13%,全国系数为0.401。

我们设立5亿令吉的基金,兴建2万6255个公共及可负担房屋单位,这项计划在前两天在Prangin Mall广场的可负担房屋展销会获得不俗的反应。

唯有通过廉洁施政,我们才能取得预算盈余,然后打造一个创业及福利州。槟城的能干、公信及透明施政让我们的储备金在八年里,从8亿5000万令吉增加至16亿令吉。槟城的政府债务也减少90%至6900万令吉,成为全马债务最低的州属。槟城的失业率为1.5%意味着还有很多就业机会。

我们有感于马来西亚人才外流的情况越来越严重,因此,州政府的终级目标是把槟城转型成为一个人才中心。我们意识到人才必须被重视、载培并让他们有全力发挥所长的空间。我们意识到大量人才因资金不足导致无限潜能被埋没。如果年轻一代的人才都离开这个国家,那是无可被取代的。因此,槟城未来基金会不只是为了让年轻人力争上游而设,也是一座桥梁,将我们的未来领袖与槟城未来的繁荣紧密联系在一起。

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