Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am happy to be present here this afternoon at this prize-giving ceremony. It always gives me great delight to be present at functions where I have the opportunity to meet young aspiring writers. Writing is a special skill and art. It is an effective tool of communication which ought to be encouraged and nurtured among our youth. The organizers of this essay competition have thrown a challenge to undergraduates “to define Knowledge Society and to show how excellence can be achieved through the actions and visions of a smart citizen”. I am told that many of you who have submitted essays have met up with this challenge remarkably. I very much look forward to reading some of the essays on this topic.
I am happy that many of the participants of this competition are present here this afternoon. I commend all those who participated in this competition, and I congratulate the winners.
This competition provides an avenue for young people like you to express your thoughts, ideas and views. Your views are important. After all, young people are the future of our nation. If we are to enhance the prospects of moving in the twenty-first century towards more peaceful cultures and more sustainable ways of living, it is important to encourage foresight and to actively listen to our young people’s voices on the future. The images that young people have of the future will help shape their aspirations as adult citizens.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I also believe that writing skills are crucial for both academic achievements and success in your future careers. It is a medium for sharing ideas, thoughts and knowledge which is so invaluable in this modern age. It is for this reason that greater emphasis in improving writing skills should be placed in schools and institutions of higher learning. In this regard, private organizations also have a role to play by encouraging our young to write. Competitions like this provide opportunities and motivations for many aspiring young writers to display their talent.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Asean Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI), News Straits Times and Standard Chartered for organizing this competition. Their joint effort provides an opportunity for the young to express their vision on a “Malaysia of Excellence”, for “it is only through knowledge that we continue to survive and sustain the sophistication of the country”.