Speech by Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh
YTL HOSTS DINNER IN HONOUR OF KING CARL XVI GUSTAF,
KING OF SWEDEN,
HONORARY CHAIRMAN OF THE WORLD SCOUT FOUNDATION
Your gracious Majesty, King Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden – Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Raja Muda Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah Ibni Sultan Azlan Muhubbuddin Shah – Your Excellency Helena SangeLand, Ambassador of Sweden to Malaysia, honoured guests, the Director of the World Scouts Association and the Chairman of the Baden Powell foundation – Tan Sri Tan Sri, Dato – Dato, Distinguished Guests – it is my privilege and pleasure to welcome you this evening to an event to honour and pay tribute to the World Scouting Movement.
I have also a very special word of appreciation for my own compatriots. These are the good people of Malaysia who share your dedication to the noble aims and the laudable activities of scouting. The Boy Scouts Movement was started in 1908 by Lord Robert Baden Powell for the development of character. It seeks to train youth to be good citizens with high ideals of honour, to be of service to others and to be self reliant.
That was almost 100 years ago. We are into another Millennium but the Scout Movement still flourishes and has gone global. Today it is a world wide activity engendering a spirit of goodwill amongst all people.
Tonight promises to be a right royal occasion. We are privileged to have both your King and one of our Crown Princes. There are only some 40 odd royalties left in the world and Malaysia has nine of them. That is because we revere our monarchy.
King Carl is the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation and donates two weeks every year solely to promote the Organisation. He has raised over 45 million dollars in support of Scouting and personally donated 25 million dollars in grants to the cause. There are men sitting here this evening who besides promoting the principles of scouting have individually donated over a million US dollars to the Foundation. We are grateful for their generosity and welcome the chance tonight to express our heartfelt thanks.
It also gives us an opportunity tonight to pay tribute to the Crown Prince of Perak who has taken up the cudgels so ably and so valiantly to espouse the cause of true values such as, have made Malaysia the country of which we have reason to be proud. The ideals that His Royal Highness Raja Dr Nazrin seeks to inspire in us all resonate with the same principles up on which scouting is founded.
Finally may I on behalf of the good people of Malaysia thank our illustrious visitors for coming all the way to grace this event with your presence. It has a special meaning for me. My dear sister Dato’ Yeoh Soo Keng is the President of the Girl Guides Association for the Federal Territory.
I’d like to end by saying something about youth and how important it is to instil the proper values in the young. The demographics of this new Millennium are very interesting. The average age in this part of the world is 23. In the West it is 27. It is the present generation of youth that will inherit the future. We can’t start early enough training them to be good citizens and self reliant, which is what scouting is all about – based on sound physical activities and a clean healthy life. Most of the training is in an outdoor setting.
You could not have come therefore to a better place than Malaysia – with its wonderful beaches, clear waters, coral reefs and spectacular marine life. We have the second highest mountains in Asia after Everest for rock climbing or them parks. Malaysia has the most ancient forests in the world with exotic fauna and flora accessible only river and jungle treks. They house the largest cave in the world for the adventurous or the eco tourist. It is made for scouting.
And whilst our visitors today may not be minded to go scuba diving or pot holding they will find plenty of business opportunities in a country rich in natural resources and moving up the economic value chain with many innovative modern commercial Schemes.
We also have the best physical infrastructure in the region. And must now ensure that we match this with the right and the most honourable human infrastructure. Newton Gingrich in 1995 commented on the lamentable trends compromising youth today.
“No society can survive; no civilization can survive with 12 year olds having babies with 15 year olds killing each other, with 17 years olds dying of Aids, with 18 years old getting diplomas they can’t read”.
We prefer our youth to be absorbed and happy in healthy pursuits like scouting. Thank you for coming here and for laying the ground work for future visits to develop scouting in Malaysia.
YTL Corporation is honoured to play a role in this His Majesty’s first efforts here. We look forward to developing a relationship of mutual benefit through a shared interest in scouting and pledge to give this all the help we can.
Your Majesty, Tuanku, May God Bless you and your just Causes.