Penang Christmas Day Message By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 25.12.2016.
The Penang state government wishes both Penangites and the record number of tourists here a Merry Christmas. 1.6 million Penangites must remain united in fighting religious extremism, racism and corruption as well as stand steadfast against those who try to bully the public by using the weapons of money politics, lies and fear.
We must uphold rule of law that is colour-blind and reject racists who try to look at every action through the racial lens of being either anti-Chinese, anti-Malay or anti-Indian. Enforcement action taken against a Chinese or a Muslim, does not make the state government anti-Chinese or anti-Muslim.
We must uphold Islam as the religion of the Federation without jeopardizing freedom of religion. The state government shall not allow unilateral conversion of religion by any one parent but preserve the present situation where both parents must agree before allowing the changing of the religion of their child.
We must uphold prioritizing education and health whereby these two key sectors will not be the first to face budget cuts. The Penang state government guarantees that the yearly allocations for vernacular and religous schools shall be continued and not reduced every year.
Is the Federal government is so “poor” that for the second year running, it can not even find RM50 million development funds promised for Chinese primary schools this year. The Penang state government repeats its offer to lend RM50 million to the Federal government to help them meet their promise to give RM50 million for Chinese primary schools.
We must uphold CAT governance of competency, accountability and transparency to continue to record annual budget surpluses and low debts. Since 2008, Penang has recorded accumulated budget surpluses of RM574 million over the last 8 years, which is more than what BN achieved over the last 50 years they ruled Penang from 1957-2007. The Penang state government received a total revenue of RM4,947 million since 2008. Land sales revenue since 2008 amounted to RM658 million or 13% of the total revenue of RM4,947 million. The state government had allocated RM500 million out of the land sales revenue for the Public and Affordable Housing Fund.
We must uphold our dream of making Penang the first green state in Malaysia. Penang has the highest recycling rate at 32% compared to the national average of 11%. Penang is installing a common bike sharing system and building a dedicated bicycle land across the state. Not a single square inch of forest reserves have been cut down and 271,000 new trees have been planted since 2008. No high-rise development is permitted beyond 250 feet. CAT governance, protecting our forests and hills has resulted in our water dams being full and no water rationing being imposed in Penang, unlike in other states.
We must uphold our focus on building basic infrastructure and human talent so that Penang can be a location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists and a habitat of choice for those who desire a livable city that is clean, green, safe and healthy.
LIM GUAN ENG