Mida refutes Guan Eng's ‘Penang is neglected’ allegation

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GEORGE TOWN (Oct 17): Total capital investment approved for Penang in the first seven months of this year was 15% higher than that approved for the whole of last year. For the entire nation, the increase was only 2%.

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) said this today in refuting the Penang government’s claim that the agency has been neglecting the state.

Mida Deputy CEO Datuk Phang Ah Tong listed 95 projects with a total capital investment of RM4.6 billion approved for Penang between January and July. For the whole of last year, 119 projects with total investment of RM3.9 billion were approved.

For the country as a whole, total investment approved for the first seven months was RM53 billion against RM52 billion for the whole of last year.

HE said that out of the 95 projects approved for Penang, about 20 projects are in the electronic and electrical (E&E ) sector.

“The E&E projects themselves contributed RM3.1 billion to the total investment while the rest were derived from the medical devices, and machinery and equipment manufacturing sectors.

“Employment generation in the E&E sector is the highest in Penang. One should not be too concerned about the figures but should focus on creating visibility in this industrial sector which is what the northern region is strong in,” Phang told reporters after opening a Mida-organised seminar on `Investment Opportunities in the Services Sector in Penang’

Phang was asked to respond to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s remark that Mida had allegedly stopped introducing and recommending companies, and failed to act on state letters for support or follow up on potential investments.

 Phang denied the allegation, saying: “We never, never neglected Penang. When we bring investment to the state, we have to go to the state for land and other state approvals. The cooperation has always been very good.

“We need both the state and federal governments to work together, otherwise it does not augur well,” he said.

Phang revealed that under the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund (DISF) for Malaysian companies, set up in July 2012, Penang received the highest amount of matching grants totalling RM201 million out of a RM550 million approval.

"Since 2012, we have approved 118 projects within the E&E, machinery and advanced engineering, transport, and life sciences. Penang received the highest approvals with 38 projects amounting to about RM201 million. The attention is mostly for the E&E sector. Even Selangor received about RM155 million only. There are no grants for chemicals," he added.

Phang said although Penang remained at the fourth placing - after Johor, Sarawak and Pahang - in terms of investment since 2012, it should not raise an alarm because the E&E sector would lose out to the capital investment of the oil and gas industry.

Instead, he suggested that Penang enhance its ecosystem in non-capital intensive industry too.

On Oct 10, Lim said that according to the data supplied by investPenang, the number of new potental investors referred to it by Mida had dropped sharply from 26 in 2011 to only two between January and September this year.