After drastic drop in FDI, Penang sets up special panel to pull in investors

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (left) says the state will intensify its search for investments this year. With him is executive councillor Abdul Halim Hussain.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow is confident of attracting more investments this year after a 46% drop in capital investments in the state last year.

To rejuvenate and promote investments, Chow announced the formation of the Penang Strategic Investment Advisory Council, which comprises captains of industry and government members.

The council is led by Chow, three state exco members, investPenang director Lee Kah Choon and investPenang CEO Loo Lee Lian.

The industry members are Globetronics Technology Bhd CEO Heng Huck Lee, Texchem Life Sciences’s Yuma Konishi, Boston Scientific’s Dave Mitchell, Plexus Manufacturing’s Lim Jong Yin and Citigroup Transaction Services’ Srinath Sambasivan.

Asked about Penang’s expectations for investments this year, he said it should be above last year’s RM5.8 billion.

Chow said data from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) showed total investment last year was RM5.8 billion, compared with RM10.8 billion in 2017.

He said despite the lower amount, Penang had managed to get “an average of at least RM5 billion” in investments yearly for the past 10 years. He said the overall investment number between 2008 and 2018 was “at least RM58 billion”.

Chow said the fluctuation in investments over the past two years was normal as the state’s major industry, electrical and electronics (E&E), went through “cyclical changes” every three to four years.

He said despite this, the E&E and healthcare manufacturing sectors had injected high-value investments into the state from time to time, with Mida reporting that 80% of the FDI last year had been realised.

“This cycle sometimes brings us RM8 billion and later dips to RM2 billion or RM3 billion a year.

“Last year was challenging. So, we are doubling our efforts to remain relevant as a choice destination for both foreign and domestic investors,” he said at a press conference in Komtar today.