Opening Speech for Green Pinang Awards Gala 2017

Speech by Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister cum Chairman of Penang Green Council on 22 November 2017 during Green Pinang Awards Gala 2017 at Eastin Hotel:

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening and welcome to the Green Pinang Awards Gala 2017.

Penang was hit by one of the worst floods in the state’s history on 4-5 November 2017. It was regrettable that we were unprepared to face the disaster due to heavy rainfall that was up to a record 372mm, a storm with the fiercest winds seen in Penang’s history blowing at 40 miles per hour (64kmph) and many areas in Northern Seberang Perai became flooded because of flood waters from Kedah.

The 15-hour storm on November 4 had paralysed the island state, triggering a mega flood and uprooted trees, claiming seven lives, 12,662 victims, involving 3,068 families were evacuated and many more were affected by the floods. We thanked the state departments, agencies, Federal Government, Malaysian Armed Forces, NGO, JKKK, private agencies and all Penang citizens who helped save Penang on 4 & 5 November. PGC staffs have also helped on the ground after the disaster.

What is important now is relief efforts to get Penang back on its feet. We have announced “Pulau Pinang Bangkit” special relief programme to ease the burden of flood affected victims in the state. Under the programme, each affected household would receive a one-off RM700 aid.

Additionally, Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) would be giving a 50% discount for domestic users for one cycle (two months), and a 25% discount for commercial users for one cycle (one month). Free replacement of state government documents such as land grant of victims who may have lost them in the flood. The ‘Pulau Pinang Bangkit’ programme would help more than 100,000 families and would cost the state government at least RM50 million.

10,000 volunteers took part in the Penang Bounce Back Volunteer Days on 11-12 Nov 2017 to help flood victims. Because of these volunteers, we achieved the unimaginable by bouncing back and cleaning up the state 100% in 10 days and almost 10,000 tonnes of garbage were collected. We continue to encourage those who are unaffected by the floods to help those affected in any manner they can. We sincerely thank all Malaysians and Penangites who stand united to help Penang in this time of crisis.

Whilst we have managed to conduct crisis management, there is much more to do on prevention. A better way is for the state government to try all efforts to ensure that Penangites are well informed and well prepared for any potentially adverse weather conditions. For this purpose, the state government will conduct a study on how data from meteorological services from other countries in the region could be compiled and used for alerts. This will involve foreign meteorological departments where countries that have indicated their willingness to assist include China, Britain and Japan, countries which are familiar with nature-related disasters.

Green Pinang Awards Gala this evening, continue to commend those who had made a difference in helping Penang to move toward sustainability either with good practices, promoting education awareness and introducing solutions that is economically viable.

I would like to congratulate the winners of Penang Green School Award, Penang Green Journalism Award, STEP by step Project and the 48 governmental and private offices that are certified as Penang Green Office this year. We hope that all government offices under state and the local governments will be certified by the end of 2018.

This evening, we are also presenting Penang Environmental Sustainability Award and Penang Environmental Stewardship Award. These two awards pay tribute to organisations and individuals for their significant and sustained commitment, dedication and leadership to improvise and conserve the environment. I would like to express our sincere gratitude to these projects’ advisory committees and panel judges. 

Group photo of guests of honours and governmental and private offices that are certified as Penang Green Office
Group photo of guests of honours and winners of Penang Green Journalism Award

We see erratic weather patterns worldwide. Floods in Penang of this magnitude were never heard of before. In the wake of global climate change threats, overcoming environmental crisis and building the sustainability of Penang fall on everyone’s shoulders. Penang Green Council (PGC) is tasked to develop Penang Green Agenda (PGA). PGA is a two-year policy planning project which aims at formulating strategies which helps to meet future environmental challenges in Penang by incorporating United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and adapting and building resilient community in Penang by 2030.

Currently we are at the stage of conducting Penang Green Agenda Stakeholder Consultation Public Survey; this is a crucial point of PGA process, we care about your opinions in formulating the agenda for the future. The state government has also asked PGC to study how to harness the data from foreign meteorological departments so that we can issue alert earlier.

Lastly, we would also like to extend our appreciation to our working partners, co-organisers and sponsors: MBPP, MPSP, Mah Sing Group, Easten & Oriental Berhad, Continental Automotive Components Malaysia Sdn Bhd, PLB Eco Solutions Sdn Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, Amphenol TCS (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Koo Bros Production, Penfabric Sdn Bhd, Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm, The Habitat Penang Hill,  Social Entrepreneurs With Integrity Association (SEIA), Momento D Amor Studio, Khind-Mistral (M) Sdn. Bhd, Yin Photobooth and Green Cap Ventures (Moku-moku).

Thank you for your tireless efforts to realise Penang’s vision of being the first green state in Malaysia. We strive to make Penang a sustainable and livable city that is cleaner, greener, safer, healthier and happier. 

Penang will bounce back! Bangkit Pulau Pinang!

Thank you!
Lim Guan Eng