GEORGE TOWN (June 12): Penang attracted approved investments worth RM8.8 billion in the manufacturing sector in the first quarter (1Q) of 2019, up 763% from RM1.02 billion in the same period last year.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said despite the intensifying trade and technology disputes between the United States and China that created uncertainties in the global trade and economic outlook, Penang remained a favoured investment destination.
"According to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), from January to March this year, Penang successfully garnered 41 projects amounting to RM8.85 billion, which represented 35% of Malaysia's total approved investments in manufacturing," he told a press conference here today.
The approved manufacturing investments in 1Q19 had already surpassed the full-year approved investment figure of RM5.8 billion in 2018, he said, adding that they were expected to create 10,073 job opportunities in Penang.
Of the total investments approved in the quarter under review, foreign direct investment accounted for RM8.47 billion while the rest was domestic investment, Chow said.
"The optimal combination of robust supply chain, strong talent pool, well-established infrastructure and the state's support services to investors makes Penang a preferred destination for investments," he said.
However, Chow, who is also the chairman of the Penang Strategic Investment Advisory Council, said while Penang could be a preferred investment destination in the middle to long run, he was cautiously optimistic on the near-term outlook due to the latest trade war development.
He said there was a truce in the trade war in 1Q but the situation had worsened since.
"US President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on another US$300 billion of Chinese exports to the US, and the meeting between Trump and China's leader Xi Jinping later this month is crucial," he said.
He also cautioned that the superb investment performance in the manufacturing sector in 1Q might not be repeated in the second and third quarters; however, Penang's investment outlook would be on the right track over the medium to longer term.
"Through InvestPenang, the Penang government will continue to focus on bringing in high quality investments that would create high value jobs and suit the state's industry profile," he said.