GEORGE TOWN: Penang can expect a faster economic recovery if the authorities can effectively contain the Covid-19 pandemic, said Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Datuk Seri Utama Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak.

He said that curbing the spread of Covid-19 while also sustaining economic growth would remain a challenge for the remainder of the year, right up to early 2022.

Ahmad Fuzi noted that Penang is one of the most developed states in Malaysia, adding that the state’s economic fundamentals remained strong in spite of the pandemic.

“Compared to other states in Malaysia, Penang’s economy is uniquely driven by both the manufacturing and services sectors which are set to recover from the upheavals of Covid-19,” he said in his opening address at the Penang Future Forward Summit today.

He said that the global demand for electronics and electrical products, the entry of several Fortune 500 companies into the Batu Kawan Industrial Park, as well as the introduction of the Penang Transport Master Plan were among the contributing factors that would accelerate the state’s economic recovery.

In his speech, Ahmad Fuzi noted that the pandemic had led to several discoveries in the development of a new work culture that would have a mixed impact on economic sectors.

“For example, businesses will utilise the online meeting technology more intensely in the future; expanding work-at-home opportunities and potentially cutting back on travels to meetings.

“Faced with the prospects of increased production costs, reduced availability of migrant workers, less travel and the need for social distancing, businesses are likely to speed up their adoption of automation and digitalisation in the post-Covid-19 world,” he said.

He said that Penang needs to ensure that it has the right policies and framework in place to reinvigorate the investment landscape as well as enhance its long-term competitiveness in the post-Covid-19 era.

“I am confident that the state government will continue to support and do whatever is necessary to ensure that our industries continue to have the edge to compete productively and win in the regional and global marketplace,” he added.

The Penang Future Forward Summit was jointly organised by the KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific, Wawasan Open University and the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Themed “Achieving a Resilient and Sustainable Economy”, the summit aims to inspire ideas, insights and connections in formulating successful strategies; capitalising on technological changes and creating a more resilient, sustainable and competitive future for Penang. — Bernama