Tech Dome Penang Project Kickoff

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng

Posted on December 1st, 2014

Dato' Lim Kiu Hock, Executive Director, Mah Sing Group Bhd
Dato’ Dr. Mohd Sofi Osman, MD, Altera Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd
Datuk Alex Ooi, Executive Chairman, Ideal Properties
Encik Amran bin Mohamad Dom, Government Affairs, Intel Malaysia
Datin Teng, Arkitek Permata
Mr Ooi Eng Leong - Managing Director of Nationgate
Mr KK Pua, General Manager - Phison Malaysia
Dato Seri Dato' Lee Hung Lung . CEO Hotayi Malaysia
Dato’ Wong Siew Hai, Director, Penang Tech Centre
Dato’ Lim Kok Khong, Director, Penang Tech Centre
YB Yap Soo Huey, Director, Penang Tech Centre
Richard Chung, General Manager, Penang Tech Centre
Ooi Kok Seng, Steering Committee, PTC
Oon Jin Cheng, Steering Committee, PTC
Ang Lye Hin, Steering Committee, PTC
Tang Chin Siang, Steering Committee, PTC
Cheok Lay Leng, Steering Committee, PTC

The state of Penang is not blessed with a lot of natural resources. We have no choice but to depend on building our human capital-we live and die by our own wits alone. One area that we must strive to transform is Penang as a centre of excellence for science and technology.

Towards that end, the Penang state government plans to establish Penang Science Cafes (PSC), a science and discovery centre called Tech Dome Penang (TDP) and build Penang Learning Center or PLC that offers Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education as well as laying the foundation for the first German Vocational education in the country. The first Penang Learning Centre was built in Kampung Buah Pala called the Karpal Singh Learning Centre and the second will be built in Bukit Mertajam.

PSC seeks to attract children and students through play and creativity, to make things, such as robots, and learn from the process of making things happen, either mechanically or electronically

TDP puts all the new designs and creations in one place to provide a source of inspiration about science and technology, whilst Penang Learning Centres aspires to use STEM teaching to raise awareness for those with minimal interest in Science and Maths.

Today, I am pleased to announce that renovation works will begin for Tech Dome Penang. Our people will soon realize the dream of having a Science Discovery Centre & a Planetarium, located in the Komtar Geodesic Dome. TDP is scheduled to open to public by early 2016. The Penang State government will lease the Komtar Dome to Tech Dome Penang for this project at a nominal rental charge for 15 years with further renewal up to a total of another 15 years.

Tech Dome Penang is a project undertaken by the Penang Tech Centre Berhad. Penang Tech Centre Bhd (PTC) was formed in 2011, upon the initiative of the Penang State Government, as one of the 5 key pillars of the Penang Science Cluster, in response to the growing need for talent in the fields of science, engineering and technology and to arrest the decline in knowledge, interest and competitiveness in these fields amongst Malaysian students and the general public.

The standard of Science and Maths amongst Malaysian 15 year olds have deteriorated at an alarming rate with the latest Programme for International students assessment or PISA ranking of our students determined at not only 3 years behind South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan but shockingly of poorer standards than Thailand and Vietnam.

As a hub for technology learning and exchange of ideas, the objective is for TDP to be a vehicle for improving scientific literacy and technology acumen in Malaysia. The Centre will provide a platform for people from all walks of life to discover the wonders of technology and to develop their technology skills and potential. Regular programs will be conducted for schools, colleges and families that are specially designed to cultivate the spirit of inquiry and teach children and teenagers the skills required to thrive in a high-tech, knowledge-based future.

It is estimated that to create this centre, a budget of RM23.2 million is needed. Last year, the Penang State Government, through Penang Development Corporation, provided seed-funding of RM1.15 million, to kickstart the project. Since then, various corporations, local and multinationals, have come forward with their sponsorships, including the people of Penang, who have contributed in their own ways during the “Magic of Science” Roadshow” organised by Tech Dome Penang recently. In total, a sum of RM17.7M has been received and/or pledged from the State government, corporate sector and the public. I am pleased to announce that Penang State Government, through Penang Development Corporation, will provide an additional RM4M, as a total funding of RM5.15M to this project, bringing the total funds raised to-date at RM21.7M, although RM2.2M is yet to be collected.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors, many of whom are with us here today. They are IJM Corporation, Intel Corporation and Intel Foundation, Phison Electronics, Nationgate Technology, Mah Sing Group, Ideal Properties Group, Dato’ Cheah Cheng Hye, Hotayi Electronics, Quill Construction, Tian Siang Premium Auto, Hwang Investment Management, M.E.I and CS Tang. Thanks to all the unnamed individuals and corporations who made contributions as well.

With only RM1.5M to go, and RM2.2M pledged, I am confident that the MNCs and the SMEs in Penang will do their part to help make this project a reality.

Last but not least, a big thank you to the volunteer team that make up the bulk of the Penang Tech Centre Steering Committee, for persevering in making the Tech Dome Penang a reality, against all odds. That is the uniqueness of the community spirit we have in Penang that make us stand out.

Thank you.