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Penang: Propelling for hig-income growth

June 4, 2010

Update Penang leverages on human resources for high-income growth

The Edge

Written by Regina William
Thursday, 03 June 2010 14:39

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will focus on human resources to propel the state forward as an international city with a high-income and knowledge economy, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The state government also aimed for the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) to touch RM45 billion and per capita income of RM50,000 by 2020.

The present GDP of Penang is RM33 billion and per capita income is at RM20,000.

Lim said for these to become reality, Penang must step up regional engagement, cooperation and collaboration.

He said this when delivering his keynote address at the Penang Outlook Forum 2010 in Singapore, which was jointly organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore, and Socio-economic and Environmental Research Institute (Seri), Penang. His speech was made available here on Thursday, June 3.

The inaugural Penang Outlook Forum was held in George Town in June last year and this year’s forum focus is “Penang in Asia”.

“Penang’s economy can only flourish when it is intertwined with the rest of the world. In fact, in this global age, Penang must foster many new kinds of collaboration.  We must work across borders between governments, industries and even academic institutions.

“We are not under the illusion that we have all the time in the world. We are looking at 2015, as too long a timeframe would not lead to a realistic appraisal in view of changing circumstances,” Lim added.

He said Penang’s challenge today was to maintain its competitive edge by transforming itself into a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy.

Lim said the proposed 200-acre education hub in Balik Pulau, the formation of an industry-driven Penang Science Council to establish it as a talent pool for scientific and technological excellence and the expansion of the Penang Skills Development Centre would serve as an incubator to develop knowledge, skills and human capital.

“To be able to sustain our growth objectives, there must first be economic innovations that would encourage us to think globally but act locally.

“Penang is a state without natural resources; we can only rely on our human talents and intelligence. If there is anything we can learn from Singapore, it is that institutions must be properly grounded and manned by properly trained leaders, technicians, bureaucrats and administrators,” Lim said.

He said education was where Penang has always had an advantage with some of the brightest people and the best educational insititutions in Malaysia.

“This is attested by the brain drain, how Penang has always exported its educated people overseas, especially Singapore. We are a very generous state on that score.

“We should perhaps also look at this positively, that Penang can position itself as a training ground to train and retrain talent. Some of the factories located in Penang already have world-class research and development facilities,” Lim added.

Lim said the history of Penang’s success and continued growth could not be sustained if it did not escape the middle-income trap.

“With new emerging economies such as Vietnam and India fast becoming major competitors to Malaysia, Penang must develop a tangible plan that provides a vision for the state.

“This industrial blueprint must develop a positive environment that will attract the investments required for sustaining growth and revitalising the state’s economy to its fullest potential,” he added.

Lim, who is on a three-day visit to Singapore, will also attend a Penang Diaspora Dinner at Tanglin Club with 100 guests who are Penangites working in Singapore.

He will also officially open the Penang Investment and Tourism Office (Pito) located at Beach Road. The setting up of Pito will help Penang to reach out to potential investors from all over the world, particularly those in Singapore.

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