On behalf of the Penang State Government, I would like to wish all Buddhists in the state and country, Happy Wesak Day!
“Wesak”, the day of the full moon in May, is the most sacred day for millions of Buddhists around the world. The central message of the festival is to pay homage to Buddha by recommitting oneself to his teachings. Apart from mind cultivation through meditation and other mindfulness practices, there are also moral responsibilities to be upheld through practice.
This is especially evident during the Covid-19 pandemic, as the Buddhist community contributes significantly to the spirit of helping and giving back to the community. Most notable is the timely Kek Lok Si Charitable Hospital which allows needy patients to receive medical treatment on par with other private hospitals while paying among the lowest fees in the state. As a show of support, the Penang State Government donated RM200,000 to the hospital in April last year and will continue to remain committed to assisting such a worthy cause.
The State Government is grateful for the unwavering support of Buddhist organizations and the community. As we deal with the pandemic, it is clearer than ever that empathy, humility, and unity are essential to the people’s well-being. As such, I hope that this year’s Wesak theme to “Promote harmony through mutual respect and helping each other”, can inspire us all, Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike.
To empower and promote the same among races and religions in Penang, the State Government, through the state’s RIBI Trust Fund, has channelled a total of RM8,479,409.44 to various Non-Muslim Houses of Worship (RIBI) in the state since 2016. Furthermore, in accordance with the State Government’s 2018 manifesto, the Penang Harmony Centre was launched on 14 November 2019 at a cost of RM2.5 million, and in 2021, HARMONICO was established as a State Government subsidiary to manage and monitor the Harmony Centre. Not to mention, since 2018, a total of 134 Non-Muslim Houses of Worship have also received a total of 83.41 acres of land from the State via various state agencies.
It is my sincere hope that, with such ceaseless efforts, we will continue to band together to accelerate our state towards the Penang2030 vision of ‘A Family-Focused Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation’, while successfully battling the virus and its devastating consequences.
I am sure that as we move closer to the endemic status, this year’s celebration of peace and harmony will be even more meaningful for many. Nonetheless, I take this opportunity to urge all of you to continue wearing your face masks and always remain vigilant.
With that, I once again wish all Buddhists, a Safe and Happy Wesak Day!