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MARCH 6, 2002

Distinguished guests.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media.

I’d first like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Yang Berbahagia Dato’ for your presence and support here today. I know what a busy schedule you keep and we are honored by your presence, sir.

Well maybe I should start by answering a question that I know many of you will be asking yourselves.

It’s a question I’ve been asked a few times today already.

And the question is this: ‘Why is Coca-Cola getting involved in this project and partnership?’

The answer is pretty simple. At Coke, we’ve always been committed to good corporate citizenship. It’s a part of who we are. As an enterprise, we strive every day to fulfil a simple and timeless promise.

We call it the Coca-Cola promise and it says that we exist to benefit and refresh everyone who is touched by our business.

And we believe that consistent engagement in the community — and making the effort to find genuine, sustainable ways to “give something back”— mark the essence of good corporate citizenship and the cornerstone of the Coca-Cola promise.

And the launch of this initiative today heralds an exciting, 21st century chapter in our citizenship commitment.

We’re proud to be part of this national effort to empower and prepare Malaysia’s young people for the Information Age.

We’re proud to be supporting the Malaysian government’s K-economy vision.

We’re proud to be partnering with the Ministry of Education and the UNDP in bringing the promise of e-learning to Malaysian classrooms and communities. We’ve listened to local leaders and we know that this is a real and urgent development and educational priority for this country. And we’re committed to doing our part in helping.

It’s no secret that education can provide great opportunities for a better quality of life for our future generations. It can open the doors to greater self-discovery and individual growth. And that’s truer today more so than ever before.

In today’s world, exposure and education in ICT is becoming critical.

As the new global, networked economy powers ahead, young people need to be equipped with knowledge and skills in ICT. Particularly young people in rural areas who are not otherwise going to get the opportunity to participate in the world of Internet.

And that’s what this project is all about. Through web-based technologies, we’ll help to bring exciting new learning opportunities to less privileged students and communities in Malaysia. We’ll do it a way that’s relevant to today’s priorities and needs. And we’ll do it in a way that’s fun.

Let’s be clear – this is not about simply putting computers in schools. It’s about finding sustainable and innovative ways to empower young people and communities through ICT for development.

The project here in Malaysia is part of a regional project that our Company has been rolling out across Asia over the past year to support local communities in bridging the ‘digital divide’. Related Coca-Cola e-learning programs are now up and running in the Philippines, China, Vietnam and Australia, brining opportunity and benefit to thousands of students around the region.

Here in Malaysia, we’re delighted to have in the UNDP a project partner with tremendous expertise in ICT for development. The UNDP have led work in this area around the world for many years. They’re experts on this. And that’s exactly the reason we chose to partner with them.

This is in fact the first ever partnership between Coca-Cola and the UNDP anywhere in the world. All of us at Coke are excited about the powerful potential of this relationship. Maxine – we’re really looking forward to working closely with you and your talented team.

Coca-Cola is investing more than RM 1 million in this initiative. But we’re not just going to be writing a cheque and leaving it at that.

At Coca-Cola, we’ve never really been big believers in ‘chequebook philanthropy’. We believe it’s far more rewarding, and certainly far more fun, to partner with the communities we serve in programs that directly help address their needs.

So, together with the Ministry and the UNDP – our partners in the promise of education - you can expect to see us getting involved in a locally meaningful way, helping to empower the less privileged, and adding a little bit of enjoyment, fun and specialness to the project along the way.

So, on behalf of all my colleagues at Coca-Cola, I thank you again.

We are honoured to work with all of you here in helping to prepare the young people of Malaysia for the challenges and opportunities of the Information Age.

Together we will make a positive difference to the lives of many, many young people throughout Malaysia.

Thank you.

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UNDP Press release

UNDP- Coca-Cola E-learning for Life Project News Release (PDF format)

Press Release from Coca-Cola’s website on the launching of the E-Learning for Life Project