GEORGE TOWN: Refusing to engage in polemics, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has expressed his willingness to meet Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed to discuss issues surrounding foreign investments in the state.
Guan Eng said he would share with Mustapa information on the matter obtained from investPenang, the investment promotion arm of the state government.
He said the state was not interested in politicising the lack of investments flowing into Penang due to an alleged freeze by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida).
“Investments are too sensitive to be used as fodder for personal attacks. We will handle this matter maturely for the sake of national interest which takes priority. We don’t wish to engage in polemics with Mustapa.
“However, in order to share this data with him, I am willing to meet him to speak rationally,” Lim said following Mustapa’s call to him on Sunday to be fair when making remarks to the media.
Mustapa, responding to Guan Eng, said “despite ups and downs”, Penang remains one of the top investment destinations in Malaysia for foreign investors, especially in the electrical and electronics, and medical devices sectors.
“For the period from 2011 to September 2014, Mida Penang has facilitated more than 200 visits from foreign companies to the state.
“Mida has held numerous workshops and briefings on the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund for industry associations and companies in Penang since the fund was introduced in July 2012.
“The allegation by Lim is unwarranted and uncalled for given the amount of effort and resources that the government and Mida have put in over the years to promote Penang and facilitate investors in the state.”
Guan Eng told The Malaysian Insider last Friday that Putrajaya was keeping investors away from Penang and that Mida had stopped introducing and recommending companies to the state, a move which could eventually turn investors away.
The chief minister said the situation had become so severe that a large international firm was giving up interest in Penang and Malaysia because of the delay.
According to the information supplied by investPenang, the number of new potential investors referred to it by Mida has dropped since 2011.
There were 26 investors in 2011, 24 in 2012, 14 in 2013 and just two between January and September this year, Guan Eng told a press conference yesterday afternoon.
With more than 300 multinational companies, Penang drew the highest foreign direct investments (FDI) into Malaysia from 2010 to August 2013, with RM19.7 billion or nearly 20% of the country’s total FDI of RM103 billion. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 14, 2014.