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Penang cautious but ready in case of FDI decline

16 Jan 2020 / 22:31 H.

GEORGE TOWN: There is no need to fret if there is a drop in the foreign direct investment (FDI) numbers in 2020 compared to last year as it is part and parcel of the global business climate, said Penang’s investment chief.

FDI inflows tend to fluctuate especially for the electronics and electrical (E & E) segment of which Penang is a dominant market leader, said Invest Penang director Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon (pix).

Lee added that E&E products as well as scientific and medical equipment were the major contributors to the total approved investments, accounting for 68% and 18% respectively.

For this year, Invest Penang has revised its target to RM5 billion, which is the average indicator of FDIs into the state in the past decade.

The eventual figure may exceed but the investment authority is contented with the figure for now, as it also gives impetus for Penang to take cognizance of what is happening to the investment climate, said Lee.

“We can use this period to consolidate on the FDI from last year and to ensure that there are no major departures. If factories are relocating, we would find ways to replace those exiting,” said Lee in a recent interview.

Last year, Penang was poised to amass over RM13 billion – a record high for the first time in over a decade, however, the official figures for will be released after the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) finalises its tabulation.

Penang saw FDI come in on the back of the uncertainty arising from the prolonged US-China trade war. The state also gained positive attention from global investors after it undertook policies to upgrade the skills of the workforce.

Meanwhile, Lee said he wants Penang to focus on improving the skills set and to develop the right infrastructure to woo investors in the Industrial Revolution 4.0 era.

He noted that the state should also expand on digitalisation and upgrading of connectivity both on the internet and the physicality aspects.

Lee, who is also the special investment adviser to the chief minister, also wants Invest Penang to work with their regional counterparts in Perlis, Kedah and Perak to promote a regional investment package to lure more FDIs.

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