Foreign firms in Penang still collating flood impact info

08 Nov 2017 / 23:38 H.

    PETALING JAYA: Foreign companies operating in Penang faced considerable disruption, especially in manpower, during the floods which hit the state over the weekend.
    The American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) told SunBiz in an email there had been considerable disruption for US firms operating in the flood-hit state in terms of labour, with workers either having to deal with the damage to their homes or being unable to commute to work.
    “Many of our members have risk mitigation plans in place to help them prepare for these types of events to limit the impact on their production and supply chains, though of course there will still be some disruption. At this early stage, it is difficult to estimate the overall costs incurred and what would be the total impact on business,” said Amcham executive director Siobhan Das.
    As at press time, Amcham was still collecting feedback from its members in the state on the impact of the big flood.
    Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MGCCI) executive director Daniel Bernbeck echoed the sentiments of Amcham, saying a few German companies were “rightly affected” in manpower mainly, but also in factory and office operations.
    Bernbeck said he does not see the natural disaster having any influence on the flow of German investments into the state, both in the short and long term. German investments “are usually very long-lasting and sustainable”, he added.
    “Typically, German investors do not change their mind on political or natural upheavals in a short time. Malaysia is generally a country of stable conditions, both in natural and political circumstances. Because of this Malaysia has become a preferred location for German investments in Southeast Asia, particularly the SMEs,” he said.
    About 15% of Amcham’s 280 member companies operate out of Penang.
    MGCCI which has 400 member companies, has about 20 member companies operating in the north of Peninsular Malaysia.
    According to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Penang received the highest foreign direct investments for the first half of 2016, with RM6.22 billion.
    The industrial hub in northern Peninsular Malaysia, which is the base for many foreign companies especially those in the manufacturing sector, was hit by what was dubbed as the “worst” flood in its history.
    On a separate note, the Penang Freight Forwarders Association Honorary Secretary Ali Ahmad told SunBiz that freight operations both for sea and air were unaffected as the worst of the floods were over the weekend and after office hours.
    Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Penang branch chairman Dr Ooi Eng Hock reportedly told a local business daily that loss are estimated at RM200 million, with smaller businesses affected the most.

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