THE Penang government is planning and acting ahead to ensure the livelihood of Penangites is protected.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that there is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic would impact the people’s health and the economy.
“We know that it directly affects human lives; and if we do not successfully manage its impact on the economy, it will also affect the lives and livelihood of the people.
“Hence, the state government is focusing on the ‘two-pronged’ Penang Next Normal Strategy to ensure economic growth. The strategy will centre upon the implementation of public projects and strengthening the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“Penang targets five action plans to strengthen the SMEs.
“The state government hopes to set up the first Digital Free Trade Zone in Penang next year to drive forward economic digitalisation. Penang has set up Digital Penang last year (2019) as a catalyst for the economic digitalisation process. The pandemic crisis that we are facing now speeds up the process.
“Digital Penang will conduct a virtual round table meeting with technology buffs on April 20 to discuss technology solutions for the ‘next normal’ situation.
“Secondly, Penang will be strengthening its medical equipment sector. We have been expanding the sector for the past 10 years and we have several global players that are here, in Penang.
“We are proud to note that our medical equipment industry is playing a crucial role in producing essential equipment to aid our battle against the Covid-19 infection.
“Thirdly, we will redirect the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector by diversifying the manufacturing products; from consumer electronic products to industry application products, such as telecommunication system, Industry 4.0 equipment, and medical equipment,” he told the public via Facebook Live on his Facebook page today.
Chow said that the Penang government would also be expanding the state’s global shared services.
“Currently, we have over 60 companies that are involved in this sector – providing 12,000 high-valued jobs. Among the services offered were finance, supply chain management, trades, analytics, research and development and logistics.
“The Penang government has also directed investPenang to set up a ‘Penang Economic Next Normal’ task force to study the economic development and direction for the state, country, region and world.
“investPenang must also draw up strategies to attract new investments to Penang and Malaysia,” he said.
Chow said that he would be making announcements on the state’s public projects soon.
He added that generally, the state’s economy was still able to provide job opportunities to the Penangites.
“Penang has recorded RM13.3 billion of total approved manufacturing investment for the period of January to September last year.
“These investments have started and investPenang anticipates that some 13,000 new job opportunities will be created,” he said.
Chow said that the economic strategy formulated was one of three branches in the Penang Next Normal Strategy. The other two are institutional reform and social reform.
Chow also said that the Penang government is committed to walk the talk.
“We will fight this battle against Covid-19 together with our frontliners. The Penang government, with the assistance from the contributors, have given out 309,700 gloves and shoe covers, a total of 30,510 personal protection equipment (PPE) sets, and about one million face masks to the frontline workers in Penang.
“We have also set up billboards and posters, besides educating the public via social media and traditional media, on the need to obey the movement control order (MCO). This is because we realise that enforcement alone is not enough,” he said.
Chow also urged the people to stay strong and adhere to the MCO.
“I was told by the state Health Department that all five districts in Penang can be listed under the Green Zone category if we do not record any new Covid-19 case until April 27.
“The south Seberang Perai district stand a chance to be the first Green Zone district in Penang if it does not record any new Covid-19 case until April 21.
“Penang has managed to achieve zero new Covid-19 case for four days – thanks to the cooperation from everyone,” he said.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Chan Kok Kuan
Video by Alissala Thian