GEORGE TOWN: Amid challenging times during the Covid-19 pandemic, Penang today revealed that it has recorded RM7.1 billion in approved investments in the manufacturing sector in the first quarter of the year, the second-highest in the country after Sabah.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said based on the Malaysian Investment Development Authority data, Penang clinched 32 manufacturing-related projects in the first quarter of this year, which is expected to translate into 4,000-odd jobs in the state.
In a press conference today, he said of the RM7.1 billion investment, RM6.8 billion came from foreign direct investments (FDI) from the United States, Switzerland and Singapore. The remaining RM321 million were domestic investments.
Chow said FDI companies of note were in the electronics industry such as US’ DexCom Inc, a glucose monitoring system company, and Swiss-listed company LEM Holding SA, which specialises in electrical testing equipment.
He said new investments continue to trickle in due to a resilient ecosystem and a comprehensive supply chain, adding that many states had announced investments, but not all projects were implemented.
Penang, however, recorded at least 80% implementation rates for all of its announced investments, he said.
“The encouraging investment performance in the first quarter exceeded our expectations, pushed by new investments and re-investments.
“This effectively makes Penang a major contributor to the national economy, with a 64% share of FDI in the country.”
Chow said despite the good investment numbers, the state expects the numbers this year to be lower than last year’s bull run of RM16.9 billion in manufacturing-related investments.
“We are mindful that the global FDI outlook would be in a downtrend. But nevertheless, we see opportunities in the global supply chain reconfiguration.”
Meanwhile, at the same press conference, Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy said 5,023 local and foreign workers had been laid off in Penang from January to June this year, based on data from the Labour Department.
From April to June, during the height of the movement control order, 4,558 locals and 178 foreigners had lost their jobs. In March alone, a total of 122 people lost their jobs.
Ramasamy, who is the state’s Human Resources Committee chairman, said Penang’s unemployment rate before Covid-19 was about 4.5% compared to the national average of 7%.
He said those without a job should head to the Penang Career Assistance and Talent (CAT) Centre in Komtar so that they can be retrained for available jobs.
“The Penang Labour Department reports that there are 5,485 available jobs as of June 30. Through the CAT centre, we can train, upskill workers and get them working again. Just come to us,” he said.
On a separate note, state Entrepreneur Development Committee chairman Abdul Halim Hussain said Penang’s business continuity loans for the small and medium enterprises have seen a great demand, with RM25.1 million disbursed to date.
He said the loans, ranging from RM5,000 to RM50,000, were given to 1,449 applicants, with 182 at the approval stage. They are to repay their loans on the seventh month onwards after their loans are released.
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