Take steps to raise investments in state, Penang govt told

Zainal Abidin OsmanGEORGE TOWN: The Penang Federal Action Council today urged the DAP-led Penang government to take immediate measures to increase investments in the state.

Its chairman, Zainal Abidin Osman, said a Malaysia Investment Development Authority report showed that investments in Penang from January to August this year amounted to just RM3.77 billion, down from RM5.34 billion in the corresponding period last year.

“We hope the state government will step up efforts to draw more investments in collaboration with MIDA,” he told a press conference.

Zainal Abidin also asked the state government to find ways to lift Penang from the bottom of the Gross Domestic Product and Workers’ Median Monthly Earnings.

“Data from the Department of Statistics shows that Penang’s GDP per capita was at the lowest from 2007 to 2015 — 44 per cent — compared to the other 14 states,” he said.

Zainal Abidin also advised Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to take heed of the Department of Statistics records as the figures were accurate.

“We should not be hasty in dismissing them, saying this is not right and that is not right. We have to take heed and focus our efforts to ensure that Penang’s GDP per capita grows well like those of other states.

“During the Barisan Nasional administration in the state, growth was in tandem with the other states. This (lack of growth) is happening under the DAP-led government; therefore, it should not blame the BN government for it.

“Find a solution to achieve GDP per capita growth for the benefit of the people,” he said.

Zainal Abidin also said Penang recorded the lowest average Workers’ Median Monthly Earnings among the states — just 17 per cent — over the last five years compared with, for example, Johor (46 per cent), Sabah (37.5 per cent) and Malacca (33.3 per cent).

“This data was also released by the Department of Statistics. Do not dismiss this. Take heed of the statistics to spur growth and work out sustainable state economic policies and programmes,” he said.

Zainal Abidin criticised Lim for having stated that Penang did not receive any benefit from Budget 2017 tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last Friday by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

He said the allegation was baseless as Penang also received a huge allocation covering various aspects.

“Lim’s statement that ‘Penang gets nothing in Budget 2017’ is wrong. I believe that not less than RM500 million will be channelled to the state next year,” he said.