THE Penang government has urged all stakeholders to jointly grow the state tourism sector.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said he is happy to note that the tourism industry is on the road to recovery.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected public health impacting businesses and the economy.
“Many events, exhibitions, conferences, seminars, forums, meetings and others were either postponed or cancelled from March this year to the first quarter of 2021,” he said in his speech during the closing ceremony of World Hospitality, Lifestyle and Entertainment Exhibition (WHOLE PENANG 2020) at Setia SPICE Convention Centre today.
Chow congratulated the organiser, Alpine Group Services, and the event partners for organising the first hybrid trade event in Penang, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
“The situation has driven people to be innovative.
“There is always an opportunity when there is a crisis.
“If it is a mere physical event, the number of attendees could be limited to the size of the event space. However, with online, the organiser could be able to reach out to a wider group of participants or stakeholders.
“This is the new norm. The people have to take this opportunity to improvise and help us get over the impact of the pandemic,” he said.
He said that the economic health and public health are two terms that are used very often.
“When we want to promote public health, it is not necessarily at the expense of the economic health; just as what we have witnessed at the beginning of the movement control order (MCO).
“At the beginning of the MCO, there was a national lockdown and the economy got locked down as well.
“We learned from that and we are still learning.
“The state government appreciates the Federal Government for taking the right approach (now) by implementing the lockdown at the locality level.
“The targeted lockdown of a particular locality, coupled with MySejahtera, will help the Government manage the outbreak in a particular area and containing it.
“It will not be at the expense of the national economy,” he added.
Chow also spoke on the recently phased-out PGCare app.
“It was a result of an email that I received.
“The sender told me that the company can develop an app for the state government.
“At that time it was quite messy throughout the country. There was no clear direction as to such an application.
“And I said yes, and assigned an officer to talk to the person and the rest is history,” he said.
Chow said in jest: “Don’t complain that the Chief Minister doesn’t read e-mails. The Chief Minister does read the e-mails. And it resulted in the development of the PGCare app.”
“We were excited to get users and premises registered with us, even those from other states.
“By the time we stopped the usage of the PGCare app, we had over 1.3 million registered users. We have only 1.8 million population in Penang,” he said.
Chow said the state has stopped the use of PGCare and advised the Penangites to use the MySejahtera.
“The Ministry of Health (MOH) is open to collaborate with the state government.
“We have decided to surrender all the data that we’ve collected during the period when we used PGCare, to MySejahtera.
“The Penang government is not a ‘naughty’ state government. We can also work with the Federal Government for the benefit of the people.
“We are happy to collaborate,” he added.
Earlier, the National Cyber Security Agency (Nacsa) chief executive Md Shah Nuri Md Zain spoke about the MySejahtera app.
He revealed that the MySejahtera had about 18.7 million registered users as of Sept 11.
“About 800,000 premises have registered,” he said.
The WHOLE PENANG 2020, organised by Alpine Group Services, provides a platform for the hospitality industry players to showcase their products during the three-day trade event which ended today.
Also present at the closing ceremony were Alpine Group Services managing director Anita Jacobson and Malaysian Association of Hotels (Penang Chapter) chairman Khoo Boo Lim.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi
Video by Alvie Cheng