Penang woos Singapore

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PENANG: Amid a spat with Putrajaya over federal assistance to draw investors to Penang, the state government will boost its efforts to draw more Singaporean investors following its recent partnership with the republic’s Temasek Holdings to develop a RM11.3 billion business and a technology hub.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is leading a two-day investment mission to Singapore today, said Penang wants to sell the message that the northern Malaysian state is an ideal location, especially in terms of human talent.

Speaking in an interview in Singapore with Bloomberg TV on its First Up programme yesterday morning, he said Penang offers a cost-effective and talent-laden alternative that could complement what Singapore has to offer.

“What we hope is to have our partners like Temasek bring in the big names into Penang,” he said on air.

“We feel we can complement what Singapore requires in terms of manufacturing and services, and of course a lifestyle that they are accustomed to.”

Stressing that human talent is the “new oil of the 21st century”, he said Penang has it in abundance.

Calling Penang the most liveable city in Malaysia, he added that “we feel that Penang has all the conditions necessary for foreign expats and investors to do well”.

The Penang government, through its development arm Penang Development Corporation (PDC), inked a memorandum of understanding with Temasek and Economic Development Innovations Singapore Pte Ltd (Edis) on May 23.

PDC and Temasek are forming a joint venture company to develop the Penang Technology Park and BPO Prime complex in Batu Kawan and Bayan Baru, respectively. Edis is providing project management services for the venture.

Guan Eng said KPMG’s Exploring Global Frontier Report in 2009 identified Penang as one of the 31 emerging business process outsourcing (BPO) hub cities in the world. He said edible oil giant Wilmar has set up a shared services outsourcing hub in Penang, while Citibank also has a global credit transactions hub that processes 25 billion transactions yearly with a value of US$6 trillion (RM19.56 trillion). — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 15, 2014.