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Speech by Lim Guan Eng at the 2nd PSC Meeting - Agilent Technologies Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone on Monday, 16th August 2010: 

Speech at the 2nd PSC Meeting - Agilent Technologies Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone 

I will like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being present at the 2nd Penang Science Council meeting. The presence of key members from the Penang Science Council is indeed significant since we last met 6 months ago. With all the key pillars now moving forward with their key activities, I am confident that we have a chance of success in fulfilling our goal of establishing Penang as a center of excellence for science and technology.

Excellence in science and technology is crucial if Penang is transform itself into an international city that is a location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists and a habitat of choice for those who desire sustainable living. PSC is Penang's state government's initative with a difference in that it is driven mainly by the key industry players without any interference from the state government.

For the past 6 months, the 5 key pillars of the Penang Science Council (PSC) have made major progress to reach out to other industry players to start their initiatives amongst themselves. The Pillar Heads are as follows:

  1. Sustainable Education and Learning Pillar headed by Motorola - to rekindle interest in science and technology amongst the young and students through talks by renowned successful entrepreneurs, competitions, quizzes and exhibitions in Penang;

  2. Mentoring Pillor headed by Mini Circuits to mentor the young scientific entrepreneur - this pillar hopes to provide a platform of guidance, opportunity and funding through seed money to commercialize their ideas and inventions.

  3. Nurturing Industry Pillar headed by former former Intel Malaysia President Dato Wong Siew Hai - Establishing a Science Tech center to showcase Penang's rich history of success in inventions and innovations in its 35 years of industrialization to spur new inventions. Apart from being a one-stop center for business, it can also be a R&D hub where talent can breed talent and innovation feeds innovation.

  4. Innovation Pillar headed by Intel - to continue the search and development for human talents with a knack for creativity ie thinking new things and innovation doing new things which necessary includes funding to encourage creative ideas and new inventions. Hard work must be encouraged. Remember Albert Einstein's words, "Genius is 1% inspiration but 99% perspiration."

  5. Life sciences & Medical Health Pillar headed by B.Braun - nurturing the young to be interested in the field of life sciences and to know more about "sunrise" industries in Penang.

And thanks also to Agilent for serving as the Secretariat. I wish to record my appreciation to the task force leaders such as Motorola, Intel, Mini Circuits, B.Braun and Dato Wong Siew Hai for taking time painstakingly in formulating their objectives within their own pillars and soliciting members of the industry to take part in their activities.

I believe the theme for PSC "Inspiring Innovation" is apt as we face strong global competition. The task of climbing up the income ladder is not an easy one and I believe innovation is the answer. According to the World Bank 2010 "Malaysia Economic Monitor-Growth through Innovation", Malaysia needs to improve in the three following areas:

  1. Talent acquisition and retention

  2. Upgrading home grown technological capabilities

  3. Improving access to finance for innovation.

Penang wishes to do its part. Penang has been successful for the past 35 years due to its ability to attract talents and have seen many home grown companies such as LKT, Eng Technology, Globetronics, Vitrox, and many others becoming a major player in the E&E industry.

Although we have lagged behind Taiwan and Singapore, we should promote and rebrand Penang as the Silicon Valley of Malaysia. Gone are the days where manual labor workforce plays a part but today, we need to move upwards by promoting our strong competencies such as the following 7 key factors:

  1. Ready availability of human talent;

  2. Effective and efficient supply chain management

  3. Competent and reliable logistics and communications hub

  4. Strong Intellectual Property protection

  5. Good governance and strong leadership

  6. Building creativity and innovation in science and technology,

  7. Livable and intelligent city

We have some success as last week Western Digital announced a USD800 million investment in Penang for its Research and Development Centre as well as manufacturing site.

The time has come for us to have new ideas for new problems. To use old solutions over and over again and expect it to solve new problems is no different from being crazy. PSC is the platform where we welcome and even encourage many new ideas amongst our young, bright minds.

Let me assure you that PSC will not exist in an environment of solitude, in solitary confinement on the island in Penang. We envision PSC to be the catalyst to transform Penang into an intelligent city that can train, retrain, retain and most important of all attract new human talent. Human talent is the new oil of the 21st century.

We need innovation but innovation works only if it is connected with society, there must be human interaction. For this reason, I see Penang of the future as an intelligent city combining the disparate elements of human intelligence, collective intelligence, digital intelligence, institutional intelligence and integrity.

The PSC has received much encoruagement from the industry but the long and ardous journey has only just begun. I hope the Pillar leaders will continue to pursue excellence by organizing programs that will achieve its main objective - promoting the interest of science and technology amongst the young Penangites.

I am already excited just mentioning the PSC's activities and I hope you will spread the word to your other fellow industry members who have yet to sign up with the Penang Science Council.

Also, the PSC committee has also embarked to search for a PSC Logo and mascot. The search is about to be over as the council will announce the winner shortly.

I am sure many of you may have also heard of Motorola's initiative to bring the National Robotics Competition to Penang and I have seen some of the industry players sponsoring primary and secondary schools for this effort. Besides that, Intel and B.Braun is also full focusing on bringing some of their activities to young Penangites.

Yesterday, an announcement was made at Komtar to call for a RFC (Request For Concept) where companies are invited to submit their design and and project management plans of the Penang Tech Center. The objective of this Penang Tech Centre is to promote innovation, discovery and inspiration modeled after the San Jose Tech Centre in the US. This centre will showcase Penang's rich 35 years of industrial history and will be located within the Bayan Lepas Industrial Zone. It will have about 100K sq ft of space with about 70k sq ft allocated for exhibits.

I wish to emphasize that Penang does not want to merely make the grade but also graduate to the next level. Innovation and education are keys to realize the hopes and aspiration of the young and the nation.

Once again, I wish to thank the Agilent for providing this state of the art facility to be used by the council members for a very noble cause that will benefit all Penangites. Let us go out and prove to Malaysia what we all know - that Penang has the best minds and talents as well as the top Malay, Indian and Chinese students in the country.

*Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary General & Penang Chief Minister



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