7,000 join Penang Youth Volunteer initiative

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THE Penang Youth Volunteer initiative, launched in 2020 by Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC), has successfully attracted the participation of more than 7,000 volunteers to date.


State Youth, Sports and Health Committee chairman Daniel Gooi Zi Sen announced this during the Penang Youth Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony held at City Bayview Hotel in George Town today.


This was the third year the event was held to appreciate the volunteers. The event saw 85 volunteers honoured for contributing over 12 hours of work from May last year to May this year.


Gooi commended them for showing their commitment and dedication in contributing their time and effort to help and serve our community.


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Chow (seated, eighth from the left), Gooi (seated, ninth from the left), Phee (seated, seventh from the left), Wong (seated sixth from the left) in a group photo with some of the distinguished guests and award recipients of the Penang Youth Volunteer initiative.


In 2023 alone, the volunteers were involved in 59 programmes, and as of May 2024, they have participated in 13 programmes.


These include the Water Distribution Aid Mission during water supply disruptions, the Malaysia Super League, Let’s Clean It Up Malaysia, the Mural Art Project at Woodhaven Park which received recognition from the Malaysia Book of Records, the Leadership and Self-Identity Camp, and many others.


“Their sincerity and enthusiasm in carrying out volunteer tasks are highly admired and appreciated, making them role models and inspirations to all of us,” Gooi said during his speech at the appreciation ceremony.


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Happiness is written on the faces of the recipients.

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Gooi emphasised the significant involvement of young people in society for the development of a progressive community.


He stated that youth are an invaluable asset, acting as catalysts for change and innovation capable of shaping the country’s future.


With their spirit, energy, and creativity, Gooi noted that the youth serve as agents of transformation, driving the progress and well-being of the community.


Highlighting their participation in various social, economic, and community initiatives, Gooi underscored the importance of their role in creating a dynamic, inclusive, and competitive society on the global stage.


He stressed that it is a collective responsibility to recognise and support their efforts and contributions for a brighter future.


Among those present at the ceremony were Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, state executive councillor for Social Development, Welfare, and non-Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Lim Siew Khim, Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Wong Yuee Harng, Seri Delima assemblyman Connie Tan Hooi Peng, Bagan Jermal assemblyman Chee Yeeh Keen and Sungai Puyu assemblyman Phee Syn Tze.



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Naim receiving a trophy from Chow and a certificate from Gooi at the Penang Youth Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony. With them are Lim (left) and Wong (fifth from left).


Chow congratulated all the youths for their participation in the initiative, which he believed would bring positive changes in the lives of individuals and the community, and continue to inspire future generations.


He said he was glad at the increase in the number of youth volunteers, from 4,500 last year to over 7,000 volunteers this year.


“Today’s ceremony is a token of appreciation from the Penang state government to our beloved Penang Youth Volunteers in celebrating their invaluable contributions.


“The dedicated spirit of volunteerism shown by all of you, without expecting any reward has become an important foundation and exemplar in nurturing a caring community.


“Indeed, you are the main pillars and hope of the country. Penang Youth Volunteer makes a difference,” Chow said during his speech.


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Chow (right) joins in singing ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads,’ at the Penang Youth Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony.


He also disclosed that through PYDC, a new policy has been introduced to empower the youth, namely the Youth Development Fund. As of April 2024, out of 46 applications received by the evaluation panel, 38 applications have been approved with a total cost of RM100,000.


He said simultaneously, the Penang Young Talent Excellence Scheme, known as “Best! Anak Penang,” which is a programme providing incentives to youths who win academic and co-curricular competitions at national and international levels, has also been implemented.


So far, 484 youths have received this incentive scheme, totalling RM150,618 since 2022.


Out of the 85 recipients in today’s appreciation ceremony, 16-year-old Naim Firdaus Mahathir top scored with 98 hours of volunteering work. The SMK Seri Balik Pulau schoolboy had the distinction of donning the iconic ‘Penang Youth Volunteer’ vest put on him by Chow.


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Naim and his mother, Azede Noor, rejoicing at the Penang Youth Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony.


Naim thanked his mother, Azede Noor Shah Azzirah, 40, for encouraging him to join as a volunteer and volunteer leader Ong Ching Shi for inspiring him. Azede is an active volunteer herself.


“I used to be a quiet person. However, after participating as a youth volunteer three years ago, I became confident and could easily communicate with others, including my fellow volunteers from all races and religions.


“Besides that, I am happy to contribute to the community, like participating in the Let’s Clean Up, and also develop my character through participating in the Kem Kepimpim Jati Diri (Identity Leadership Camp),” Naim said.


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Munisha Kaur posing with her trophy and certificate, alongside her boyfriend, Amarjeet.


Another notable recipient at the ceremony was Munisha Kaur, 27, who walked with difficulty when going up on stage to receive her award from Chow. The chief minister graciously stepped forward to meet Munisha and personally presented her with the trophy.


Munisha has been a Penang Youth Volunteer for the past three years and contributed by serving food at the state-level Vasakhi celebration at Fort Cornwallis last year. She also learned CPR as a volunteer.


“I was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord, in 2016. Since then, I have had difficulty in my movements as I feel numbness from my waist downwards.


“To walk, I have to wear ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) for support. This enables me to carry out my work, daily routine, and even driving.


“I am passionate about volunteering in any kind of activity, especially charity,” said Munisha, a security supervisor. Her boyfriend, Amarjeet Singh, was present to give her moral support.


The appreciation ceremony concluded with a climactic rendition of ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ and ‘Standing in the Eyes of the World,’ by a few volunteers, enthusiastically joined in by Chow, Gooi, and most of the attendees.


Story by K.H. Ong

Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad

Video by Darwina Mohd Daud