The 33rd Conference Of The Asean Federation of Engineering Organization
SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF CAFEO 33
Tuesday 24 November 2015
Equatorial Hotel, Pulau Pinang
Tuan Yang Terutama Tun Dato' Seri Utama Abdul Rahman Abbas
Governor of Penang
Yang Berhormat –Yang Berhormat Executive Councillors of the State of Penang
YBhg Dato’ Ir. Lim Chow Hock
Chairman of AFEO and IEM President
Ir. Dr. Mui Kai Yin
Chairman of IEM Penang Branch
Ir. Paul Phor Chi Wei
Organising Chairman of the 33rd Conference of the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organisations
Presidents and Delegates of Member Organisations of AFEO
Representatives of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) and Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and the Pacific (FEIAP)
Distinguished Officials from the Malaysian Government and ASEAN Member Economies
Heads of Government Departments of Penang
Council and Exco Members of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia
Eminent Speakers and Participants of CAFEO33
I heartily congratulate the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia and its Penang Branch for successfully staging this 33rd Conference of the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations (also known as CAFEO 33) here in Pulau Pinang.
The State Government warmly welcomes all of you especially our foreign guests to the Pearl of the Orient. It is indeed an honour for us to host such a high profile engineering conference, with delegates from ASEAN and other countries convening to explore the opportunities and challenges of advancing engineering to the next level of excellence for the benefit of the people of ASEAN.
For more than three decades, CAFEO has been the platform for the ASEAN engineers to discuss and share experiences. Efforts were geared towards meeting the future national development agenda of the region. In line with this, your conference theme this year, “From Light to Bytes: ASEAN Engineering Evolution and Future challenges” is indeed very apt and appropriate and reflective of the role played by our engineers in Penang.
Penang owes much to our engineers for helping our transformation from an agro-based trading state to one of the most industrialised states in Malaysia. More than 95% of our GDP is made up from manufacturing and services. We have been labelled the ‘Silicon Valley of Malaysia’ and are indeed proud of our substantial pool of local engineers numbering over 30,000. For example, Intel runs one of their global R&D hubs in Penang with over 2,500 local engineers doing R&D alone.
Engineers are the key drivers for much of our economy, especially in the high value added manufacturing sector. This is mostly true for ASEAN and other countries as well. Many developed countries have proven track records of engineering contributing directly to national development. Apart from the pursuit of excellence, honestly and integrity are critical success factors. There is no substitute for a corruption-free model.
For Penang, we believe strongly that technical personnel should be allotted leading positions to lead and drive our socio-economic transformation. These include the formulation of policy, planning and implementation of infrastructures and utilities, benchmarking of engineering standards, human resources and capacity development. In this respect, the technical advice of IEM has always being sought by the State in many areas such as hillside and slope development, traffic and master transportation plan and the flood mitigation programmes.
As a key component of the human capital, the engineering fraternity has a bigger responsibility. Apart from training future engineers, Penang is the first state in Malaysia to implement a German Dual Vocational Training (GDVT) programme, the best vocational training in the world, which is a truly unique programme within the Malaysian education system. It involves on-the-job teaching and training in the factories, where the state government contributes RM 2 million for the 500 students who are also paid a monthly stipend of RM 1,000. In other words, they get paid to study.
Under the agreed frame work of ASEAN Economy Community (AEC), business liberalization among ASEAN countries creates new business opportunities and competition. Adequate engineering skills, knowhow and resources are essential elements to spur economic development.
In our quest to transform Penang into an international an intelligent city, the state government is commited to invest in infrastructure building, investing in education and investing in innovation and a knowledge-based economy. We are investing in our RM 27 billion Transport Master Plan (TMP) to resolve our traffic congestion problems with an efficient public transport combining rail, road, water and air. The 5 in 1 approach of buses, taxis, ferry, LRT and cable car would need more engineers at a time when Penang faces a shortage of engineers.
On education, the Penang State Government is hoping to increase our talent pool for engineers by rekindling interest in science and technology amongst the young through STEM Teaching of Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics, setting up the Penang Science Café to teach students on robotics and organizing the largest International Science Fair in Malaysia.
Penang has much to offer besides engineering. George Town the capital city of Penang was listed as the fourth most charismatic and best to travel city in the world by the top travel internet site, Lonely Planet. On that note, I hope all CAFEO 33 delegates will spare the time to tour this UNESCO Heritage city of George Town to witness the uniqueness of Malaysian multi – racial culture, world heritage sites, including our natural parks and beaches on this beautiful island. And of course, the best street food in the world!
Lastly, I would like to wish you a fruitful conference and an enjoyable stay in Penang and once again congratulations to The Institution Of Engineers, Malaysia for the success of CAFEO 33.