Good afternoon and Happy New Year!

It is with great pleasure that I stand here this new year, witnessing yet another major milestone for Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau and the Penang Business Events industry.

Last January, I had the pleasure of announcing that Penang hosted 1251 events, with an estimated economic impact of RM808 million. In Q3 of 2017, Penang made history by becoming the first Asian destination to win the bid to host the World Seafood Congress.

At PCEB’s BE @ Penang 2017 conference, we proudly announced that in the first three quarters of 2017, Penang had hosted 1731 events with an estimated economic impact of RM900 million, surpassing the achievements of 2016.

I am very certain when PCEB releases the industry report for 2017 later this month, we would be looking at a greater achievement for the industry.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Not only is Penang a thriving tourism and Business Events destination, it is also an important destination for both foreign and local investors.

In MIDA’s latest report for the period of Jan – Sept 2017, Penang is ranked No.1 among the Malaysian states for foreign direct investment under the manufacturing sector. FDI into Penang for this period amounts to RM8 billion while the domestic investment stands at RM1.9 billion, a total of RM9.9 billion.

In order for Penang to catapult forward in winning new businesses for Business Events, having our national carrier as strategic partner is a move in the right direction.

With Malaysia Airlines as a strategic partner, Penang is able to provide value-added service to Business Events organisers, especially in terms of special rates for flights. For select events, PCEB is in talks with Malaysia Airlines for charter flights. This bodes well for Penang when we go in for bids.

Through this partnership, PCEB and the Penang Business Events players would be able to tap into Malaysia Airlines’ extensive network to position and promote Penang as the preferred Business Events destination in the region.

I am certain that this partnership will be key to opening more doors for Penang and for the industry to grow in leaps and bounds. In line with PCEB’s mandate to develop the BE business, the bureau has also been given the responsibility to secure direct flights into Penang from key Business Events markets, namely China, India and Korea.

I have confidence in Malaysia Airlines to open new direct routes for Penang and establish Penang as its second international hub in Malaysia.

Ladies and gentlemen;

I am delighted to be here today to witness the signing of the memorandum of understanding between PCEB and Malaysia Airlines Berhad. As Penangites, we are proud to support Malaysian brands, and none is as iconic as Malaysia Airlines Berhad. Malaysia Airlines has been the nation’s carrier since the 1940s and the airline flies to, from and around Malaysia with 40,000 guests daily.

May this partnership be one of the catalyst to grow Penang further on a global level for Business Events.

With this remarkable start to the year 2018, I wish all of you the greatest of success for a stronger Penang.

Thank you.