Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tun Lim Chong Eu: A legacy of good deeds

AS a Penang-born Malaysian, I feel sad over the death of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, the former chief minister of Penang.
Dr Lim was indeed one of the outstanding political leaders of the nation. He did not talk much but worked hard. He was farsighted and contributed a lot towards the industrialisation of our country.

Dr Lim took over the state government after his Gerakan party won the election. He initiated the setting up electronic factories in Penang, bringing new life to a state which had just lost its free-port status.

Besides providing job opportunities to Penangites , the setting up of these factories contributed to the growth of downstream industries in the country.

Apart from that, we also benefited in terms of transfer of technologies.

I am one of those who benefited from the industrialisation programme initiated by Dr Lim.

In 1980, chances for young people to further their studies at tertiary level were scarce. However, those like me who worked in multinational electronic factories in Penang had ample opportunities to upgrade their skills.

In the course of working with National Semiconductor, I sat for the City and Guild diploma in electronic engineering course conducted by the company in Penang.

After graduating, I was given an opportunity to go to Japan for special technical skills training under the Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship programme.

I will always remember Dr Lim not only as the "Father of Industrialisation" of Penang but also as the person who played an important role in fostering the early open university programmes in Malaysia.

I only met Dr Lim once but was impressed by his words.

According to him, industrialisation is very important to our country because of its multiplier effect.

For instance, when a factory of 1,000 workers is set up, it will create another 6,000 jobs because new jobs in the factory will also stimulate the demand for food, housing, clothing, education and entertainment.

The positive impact of his industrialisation programme will live on.

One important thing that we should learn from Dr Lim is that courage is crucial for initiating positive change.

He displayed wisdom as a political leader by joining the Barisan Nasional because he knew the importance of unity and stability in developing the economy.

As the Malay proverb goes, Harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama (When a tiger dies, it leaves behind its stripes; when a man dies, he leaves behind his name), Dr Lim's deeds will always be remembered by Malaysians.

GOH HOE HOE, Kuala Lumpur

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