(Delivered By Y.B. Datuk Chong Kah Kiat,

Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah/Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment)


May I convey the greetings and warmest welcome of the Right Honourable Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Hj. Aman to all distinguished delegates and visitors to Sabah. He sends his profound regrets and apologies for not being able to personally officiate this auspicious function as he has to attend to the Rulers’ Conference in the Federal Capital, Kuala Lumpur. He has, however, asked me to deliver this speech on his behalf.

Sabah is greatly honoured and privileged to have been selected as the venue to host this ASEAN AUSTRALIAN ENGINEERING CONGRESS 2004 (AAEC 2004). I have been informed that this is the first time that this congress of Australian Engineers is being held outside Australia. I am sure you would agree with me that the organizers have made the right choice to hold this important gathering of engineers in Sabah.

Indeed, Sabah is pleased to be able to play host to this Congress. This is very much in line with the State Government objectives in our continued efforts to advance in both science and technology, not only for their own sake, but fundamentally to benefit our society.

Thus, it is very encouraging to note the active participation of members of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia in this congress. Their presence here indicate their enthusiasm to keep abreast not only with the state-of-the-art engineering technology, but also on issues and challenges facing the profession.

The exchange of ideas and the sharing of information in this Congress will not only foster and enhance existing networks and linkages between Malaysia and Australia but will also bring about benefit that can accrue to both countries. Knowledge sharing is always healthy for any profession. As you are all aware a knowledge-driven economy is the catalyst to overall economic growth and development.

Apart from learning more about technological advances in engineering, the interaction between engineers in a forum such as this Congress will invariably pave the way for further collaboration and partnerships in potential business undertaking. The State Government is always looking for strategic partnerships particularly to promote research and development. We believe continuous research and development will offer solutions to the sustainable use of our resources for our development, our progress, and ultimately for the prosperity in the long term for our people.


The world over continues to face numerous challenges and profound changes of global significance, impacting on our economies as well as in the use of our environmental resources. The Malaysian Government in general and the State Government of Sabah in particular, need to keep abreast with these changes and meet the challenges in order to have a competitive edge to maintain for our economy. We have embarked on programmes to have a more effective administration that promotes good governance and a high standard of working culture not only for efficiency but also to achieve greater productivity. Malaysia has a vision, a vision of sustainable development and economic growth. For this there is a continual need to adopt and apply new skills and advance technology. At the same time, we need to continually nurture our pool of skilled workforce, and to encourage and to support professional development.

The Engineering field is fundamentally about enhancing our quality of life and wellbeing. Engineers must therefore continue to relate to society and to apply your expertise accordingly. Like other professions and businesses, you must constantly innovate and address problems before you. We cannot advance economically if we stop learning and stop applying new skills in our respective professions and businesses. Engineers have an important role to play to make the world a better place, since the provision of infrastructure essentially paves the way for development.

Over the next two days I believe you all will be learning, imparting as well as exchanging ideas about innovative technologies and effective approaches to overcome the various engineering challenges. I understand a focus will also be on engineering standards particularly in relation to safety and health. I hope that your discussion will also cover issues that will protect, safeguard and enhance the environment in general.

After your fruitful sessions at this Congress, may I invite you to spend some time to visit, experience and explore the many attractions we have in Sabah. May is a month of celebrations of the Harvest Festival or Pesta Kaamatan. The Pesta Kaamatan is one of Malaysia’s premier cultural festivals, where many of our indigenous people showcase their culture and lifestyles. Incidentally we will be holding our Pesta Kaamatan Open House on the 28 May and the State official annual celebration of the Harvest Festival on May 30 and 31. You are all welcome and are invited to take part in these festivities.

And if you wish for a more leisurely holiday, please take advantage of our many marine attractions and activities offshore or go to our nearby Mt. Kinabalu or simply relax on our beaches.

It gives me great pleasure to declare the ASEAN AUSTRALIAN ENGINEERING CONGRESS 2004 open.