Penang Seeks Equity
26 December 2009, Georgetown, Penang
Penang Seeks Equity
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today he would be demanding a fairer deal from Putrajaya. It has only received RM794mil in federal grants in the last eight years although it had contributed almost RM26 billion in taxes and custom duties.
Lim said that the Finance Minister, Najib Tun Razak, had revealed in Parliament in a written reply to him that Penang contributed RM25.670 billion in the form of taxes and customs duties between 2001 and 2008.
"In other words, Penang received back only a shocking 3% of what it contributed during the 8 years from 2001-2008. Even if we were to include federal projects of around RM10 billion during this period, the total amount spent in Penang would amount to at most 40 per cent.
The state has been left out of the development mainstream too long and that has resulted in a slower rate in the building of public infrastructure compared to other states. " he said
Penang is one of the country's industrial powerhouse. However it has found access to funds difficult because its relatively small size means the state government's revenues from property taxes remain low. Lim said today that the discrepancy between what the state contributes to the federal government and what it gets in return had resulted in the state being left out of the development mainstream.
"Even Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew made the observation that Penang was developing slower compared to other towns such as Ipoh or Seremban," he said in reference to remarks made by MM Lee when he visited the state earlier this year.
Penang, he said would now be seeking a fairer deal from the federal government to allow all Penangites equal opportunity for success and prosperity regardless of race, religion, gender or background.
He added, "Our efforts in ensuring that everyone has a share in the fruits of economic success has led Penang to become the first state to wipe out hardcore poverty with every family receiving at least RM500 a month."
Business Opportunities in Penang, Malaysia (paperback)
by Tan Teck Meng
Penang is the second smallest state of Peninsular Malaysia in terms of land areas, comprising approximately 1,031 sq. km. It consists of the island of Penang which comprises only 293 sq. km; and the Wellesley Province situated on the north-western coast of mainland (bounded to the north and east by the State of Kedah and to the south by the State of Perak) which comprises the remaining 798 sq. km.
The British were probably the first to recognise the strategic position of Penang as an important trading centre in the Straits of Malacca and Sumatra. Penang's port served not only the northern part of west Malaysia, north Sumatra and south Thailand but also Myanmar and India.
However, its role as a trading centre was significantly reduced when Penang lost its free port status in the 1960s. As a result, Penang's economy flatered. And yet, today, Penang is one of the fastest growing economies in Malaysia.
It is recognised as an industralised state. In 1991, for instance, Penang's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 11%. Between now and the year 2000, Penang is expected to achieve an average annual growth rate of at least 7%.
Penang has a stable socio-political environment and a steadily growing economy. In addition, the Penang State Government is responsive to business needs and has identified the necessary strategies to develop Penang into a business centre.
From the Back Cover
Gives business people all the up-to-date information they need to take advantage of business opportunities in the Penang region, which includes the entire Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand growth triangle.
This book presents the extraordinary business opportunities in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle, with Penang as the central hub. It evaluates the region's competitive and economic characteristics, especially in the context of ongoing industrial and manufacturing development. It assesses critical success factors for foreign investors, relevant tax laws and incentives, the banking system, and labor market conditions.
This book is for all business people, investors, professionals and academics interested in an insider's view of doing business in Penang, Malaysia, and the surrounding high-growth region.
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