Speech by Hon. Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang, at World Cities Summit’s Ministerial Dialogue on “Leading the change: building liveable and vibrant cities” in Singapore on 30th June 2010.
Penang’s focus is on Penang’s human resources to propel Penang forward as an international city, high-income & knowledge economy with a GDP of USD20 billion and per capita income of USD15,000 by 2020. Penang GDP has grown from approximately RM1.3 billion in 1970 to RM33billion to date and this increase is largely due to the expanding manufacturing sector that now accounts for 39% of Penang’s economy, with the services sector 57%. Penang contributes nearly one third of Malaysia’s exports value and more than 50% of electronic exports. From March 2008, Penang has attracted investments of nearly USD 3bilion and is the Silicion Valley of Malaysia with quality companies such as Intel, Dell, Agilent, Motorola, Sony, Honeywell Aerospace Avionics Malaysia, Philips, Osram, National Instruments, B Braun and St. Jude Hospital.
There are 7 key factors that accounts for our success as a location of choice for investors:-
1. Ready availability of human talent;
2. Effective and efficient supply chain management
3. Competent and reliable logistics and communications hub
4. Strong Intellectual Property protection
5. Good governance and strong leadership
6. Building creativity and innovation in science and technology, and
7. Livable city
For this reason, in our quest to be also the Software Valley knowledge-based economy, we are mindful of being a livable city and vibrant city. ECA International recently selected Penang as the 8th most livable city in Asia, on par with Kuala Lumpur. Penang has been voted consistently as having the 2nd best street food in the world, one of 30 global Business Process Outsourcing Centre for the future and a UNESCO World Heritage City for our outstanding universal value of cultural diversity and living heritage.
There are 7 elements of change towards retaining Penang’s premier position as the most livable and vibrant city in Malaysia.
1. security and stability category such as crime rates and civil unrest.
2. good governance and effective leadership,
3. economic vibrancy and competitiveness, and
4. quality of life and diversity.
5. environmental friendliness and sustainability,
6. heritage conservation, and
7. intelligent city encompassing human, collective, digital, institutional and integrity intelligence.
We believe that sustainability allows for unbalanced economic growth but equitable development for all. Penang must find its own niche as an international city. Branding for Penang is important that is synonymous with quality, reliability, safety, sustainability and integrity. Equally important is social cohesion and inclusion towards a shared society that allows democratic participation, respect for diversity and individual dignity, equal opportunity and prohibition of discrimination. But most crucial of all is equal opportunities for the young and talented to grow and fulfil their potential. We believe that this is the way forward for Penang to be the smart shop of the new knowledge-based economy in manufacturing and services sector.