In saying our long goodbye to the Year of the Rat, we are inspired by momentous local and international events.People everywhere wanted to be inspired by democracy that empowered ordinary citizens and not corrupted by the rich elite. Malaysia was transformed by the political tsunami of March 8 when voters denied BN its two-thirds majority and gave Pakatan Rakyat 5 state governments. America transformed the world by electing a black man as President teaching the world that the content of character is more important than the colour of our skin. These political tsunamis were followed by the economic tsunami of a global economic recession.
As we usher in the year of the Bull, let us give ourselves to the hope of change. That we can begin the transformation of of Penang into an international city and the government into a people-centric, CAT(Competent, Accountable and Transparent) and ethical administration that is pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-poor. The Year of the Bull brings many economic uncertainties. But as long as we believe in our own and each other abilities we can overcome these economic challenges. Like the strength, dynamism and dedication of the bull, never underestimate the energy, expertise and entrepreneurship of the people of Penang. Let us grow together, learn together face obstacles together so that we can enjoy the fruits together.
Aspirations without accomplishments mean nothing. That is why we have always stressed that to accomplish change, it must be change that the people can see, and change the people can touch and change the people can feel.
In the 10 months of the new Pakatan Rakyat state administration, we have seen the change in our investments double 2007 RM 4.7 billon to RM 9.5 billion. We have seen the change in the revival of Komtar that has been brought back to life from the sleepy half dead existence.. We can see the change of putting up bilingual signboards when there was none before.
We can touch the change in the restoration of free CAT bus services in Georgetown. We can touch the change in our notebook with the [email protected] initiative of providing free WiFi and WiMAX at affordable prices in certain hotspots. We can touch the change in free tender on government procurement through the internet with our e-tender replacing “political cables” with “computer cables”
We can feel the change in running a CAT government that takes action against waste, abuse of power and corruption. We can feel the change in promotion of education with the institutionalization of funding for partially-assisted schools such as Sekolah Agama Rakyat, Chinese primary schools, Tamil primary Schools, Chinese independent Chinese schools, mission schools and national type secondary schools. We can feel the change of a caring government with RM 100 given to each of the 170,000 families in Penang and aid to the poor.
Malaysians must continue to be inspired by hope and hold on to aspirations of a better Malaysians. In celebrating the auspicious Reunion Dinner with our family and loved ones, we must not forget the poor and have compassion for the unfortunate and ill. Most important of all, we must harness the potential of our future generations so that they have equal opportunity of education and employment. Only by committing our future to human resources development and encouraging the talented ones, can we have hope and succeed. Choose the best so that we can be on top of the rest to achieve progress and prosperity.
A Happy, Healthy and Wealthy New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai.