IN 2010, Penang attracted more than RM12 billion in foreign investment and became the top investor destination in Malaysia.
A great part of the foreign investment is from expansion and diversification projects of electronic firms in the state. The quantum leap in foreign investment is not solely due to efforts by the state government; market forces and the investment climate were key factors.
The electronic and telecommunication industry has entered into the new transformation stage characterised by short product life cycles and wide range of models, high level of customisation and automation.
Penang is not exclusive of this transformation. To survive and remain competitive, it is natural for the manufacturing firms to expand their automation lines and upgrade their manufacturing and research facilities to cope with changes in the market trend. Despite tough competition from countries in this region, investors still make Malaysia their first choice because of its political stability and world class infrastructure. But these two factors alone will not be enough to sustain our growth.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said during a dialogue with foreign investors that a big concern is the shortage of professional and skilled workers, therefore it is important for us to give priority to human capital development and encourage companies and workers to take part in life long learning programmes. This is to ensure that we remain dynamic and innovative.