Guan Eng hails footballers as example for Penang

By Yow Hong Chieh

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — Penang must “embrace the future” like the national football side and develop human capital to transform itself into an international city, the state’s chief minister has said.

Taking note of Malaysia’s historic AFF Suzuki Cup win, Lim Guan Eng said Penang should emulate the achievements of the national side to become truly competitive regionally.

Malaysia beat Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 final held in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta earlier this week.

“2010 ended with a bang when our Malaysian football players made us all proud by winning the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time in 21 years,” Lim said in his New Year’s Day message today.

“All Malaysians are proud of our football success because we have beaten our international neighbours. We do not want to be seen as jaguh kampongs but as international champions in the Asean region.”

The DAP secretary-general said the Penang government will formulate policies to encourage innovation and harness local entrepreneurship so that the resource-shy state could “join the race to the top”.

“Penang has no choice but to be an intelligent city centred on high technology, high-value added and knowledge-intensive economy,” he said.

“As a state without any natural resources, we need to build up our human capital by training, retraining, retaining and attracting new human talents.”

Lim, however, also stressed that Penang had to compete internationally with dignity and respect and urged locals to see diversity as a strength rather than a source of weakness.

He said this had been recognised by Unesco when the UN body awarded George Town World Heritage City status in 2008.

“All Penangites are proud that our common heritage has achieved international recognition. We must not allow lies to blind us to the truth that we are all bonded by blood, driven by shared values of diversity and tested by time,” he said.

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