Speech By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng During The Adelaide City Council Official Reception By Adelaide Lord Mayor Michael Harbison In The Adelaide Town Hall Released On 2.10.2010 In Penang
The Penang state government proposes a revival of Adelaide Week in Penang and Penang Week in Adelaide to strengthen city sister ties between both cities that is bonded by blood, tested by time and driven by shared values. Medan was the first sister city for Penang. As Adelaide was our second sister, established far back in December 1973, there is no reason for allowing what was once a close relationship to lapse and wither away.
This is the reason why the Penang state government has led a high-level delegation to reconnect with Adelaide and link again our two peoples not just based on trade, tourism, education but also our common heritage. Both Penang and Adelaide share the same forbears. Captain Francis Light founded Penang in 1786 whilst his son, Colonel William Light, founded Adelaide exactly 50 years later. Colonel William Light’s mother is a native Malay and it is this cultural ties that bonds our people by blood.
For nearly 225 years for Penang and 175 years for Adelaide, both cities took divergent paths yet tested by time and driven by shared values of respect of diversity that endured till this day. 30 years ago when I first came to Adelaide, there were still some vestiges of the racist White Australian policy. Today, Adelaide is one of the most multi-cultural and multi-racial city in Australia.
Similarly, George Town and Penang has nearly 225 years of experience in living together in harmony and respect amongst the different ethnic groups and cultures symbolised by mosques, churches, Indian temples and Chinese temples built near to each other. This tradition of harmony and mutual respect was recognised by UNESCO when George Town was awarded World Heritage City status on 7.7.2008.
Let us not be stuck in the past of neglect and indifference. Many of your leaders have been to Penang. However that was a long time ago. We need to rekindle our memory and renew our ties. You have so much to offer in your expertise and experience. In return we offer our energy, entrepreneurship and willingness to learn.
Penang is willing to embrace the future. For this reason Penang aspires to transform ourselves into an international and intelligent city as this is the only route to survival in the globalised world. As a state without any natural resources, we need to build up our human capital by training, retraining, retaining and attracting new human talents.
Penang has no choice but to be an intelligent city centered on high technology, high-value addee and knowledge intensive economy. My government shall formulate policies that both encourages and engenders innovation that permits us to join the race to the top. We hope to learn from Adelaide’s successes. In return we offer the opportunity for Adelaide to tap in to the most happening and livable city in Malaysia.
The revival of the Adelaide Week in Penang and Penang Week in Adelaide next year will be serve as a catalyst to forging not just government-to-government ties but also closer people-to-people contacts between both cities.