A glittering affair

CHIEF Minister Chow Kon Yeow believes that the Penang Signature Gold (PSG) Fair, now in its fourth edition, will grow even bigger in the near future.

He said the increased number of the delegates from as many as 17 countries attending PSG 2019 currently being held at Setia SPICE Convention Centre from today till Sunday was an encouraging sign that showed how far the industry could go.

“It can be among the most anticipated trading platforms in Malaysia catering for a specific niche market involving international prominent gold jewellery and machinery manufacturers,” Chow said in his speech at the fair today.

“I have come across people who posed the question, why choose Penang (to hold the exhibition)? Why not KL?

“The gold jewellery industry in Penang has existed for over 100 years. It is not only well developed but also an admired one which exudes an inexplicable charm of its own.

“Furthermore, Penang exports 80% of the Malaysian gold exports worldwide. In fact, I should answer, why not Penang?”

Chow signing the plaque to mark the opening of the Penang Signature Gold Fair at Setia SPICE Convention Centre.

As the gold industry is facing various challenges like other sectors, Chow expressed hopes that the representatives of the government agencies like Miti (Ministry of International Trade and Industry), Matrade (Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation) and Mida (Malaysian Investment Development Authority), would take note of the concerns of the manufacturers and exporters to the decision-makers of the ministry so that they could have a better environment to operate.

“This can help them excel and become larger player in the world market. At the moment, we are the number eight in the world. Not many people recognise this fact.

“As we continue to grow, the industry needs government support in terms of labour policy, tax incentives and Customs requirements,” Chow added.

He also congratulated the Elite Expo Sdn Bhd and Province Wellesley Gold & Silver Ornament Merchants Association for jointly organising the fair.

This was followed by a luxurious gold fashion show that captivated many, after which a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held.

Province Wellesley Gold & Silver Ornament Merchants Association president Tan Geng Seng said the jewellery industry is facing multiple challenges, including material and labour cost.

He said that domestic business has dropped by about 20% to 30% while export has dropped by 10% to 20%.

Chow admiring the gold jewellery on display at the Penang Signature Gold Fair.

“In June this year, the gold price had climbed to its highest in six years since 2013. As of 12th August, the gold price is RM204 per gram compared to RM170 per gram two weeks earlier,” Tan said.

“This abnormal high rate is due to multiple global economic issues, like the China-US trade war, the amended Hong Kong’s immigration law and the newly imposed import tax in the Middle East.

“With the increasing trend in product personalisation, the market demand has changed. It’s time for us to seek a new competitive edge and begin a new strategy to overcome these challenges.

“We are now moving into Industry 4.0, which helps simplify the factory production. With this, I urge everyone to move into Industry 4.0 to reduce the cost of production, improve productivity and profitability.”

Elite Expo chief executive officer Johnson Lim said they were proud to hold the exhibition in Penang for the fourth time as it provided a good platform for manufacturers and buyers to meet and an economic spinoff for the state.

“It’s not easy to organise an exhibition, even tougher still to have a gold exhibition. There are only three countries in the world that have organised gold exhibitions and Malaysia is one of them,” said Lim.

Among the VIPs present at the opening ceremony were state executive councillor Soon Lip Chee, Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng, Penang chief police officer Commissioner Datuk T. Narenasagaran, MyCeb CEO Datuk Zulkefli Sharif, Federation of Goldsmiths and Jewellers Association of Malaysia (FGJAM) adviser Tan Sri Ng Teck Fong and FGJAM president Steven Siow.

Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad
Video by Chan Kok Kuan