BN Should Not Politicise Economic Data That Penang Has Recorded Negative Economic Growth When This Is Not The Reality On The Ground And Even Small And Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Complain That Their Biggest Problem Is Finding Workers (en/cn)

The Penang state government regrets the irresponsible attempt of Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim at a Penang MCA economic forum to manipulate economic data to benefit BN politically. Donald Lim’s claims that Penang Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the first nine months of this year showed a drop to 1.8% is not reflected by business sentiment nor the worker shortage in Penang.

The BN Federal government should not politicise economic data that Penang has recorded negative economic growth when this is not the reality on the ground and even small and medium enterprises (SMEs) complain that their biggest problem is in finding workers. Only on Thursday whilst attending the Small and Medium Enterprises Association(SAMENTA) dinner at E&O Hotel, I was told by its President that business orders were firm and their biggest problem was finding workers.

Also on Thursday, multinational corporations(MNCs) B. Braun had just announced a RM 1.75 billion additional investment over 3 years beginning this year and Agilent Corporation announced a USD 200 million investment next year, both in Penang. Are the announcements of such investments by these 2 foreign MNCs reflected in the BN government’s figures?

The failure by Donald Lim to factor in these two important developments by SMEs and MNCs raises strong suspicions about the credibility of his remarks, bearing in mind BN’s past tendency of manipulating figures and statistics in their favour. For instance BN’s claims of successfully fighting crime shown by declining crime index does not reflect the prevalence of crime continuing throughout Malaysia until former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan even suggested a review of the crime index due to the disconnect between the figures and the actual situation on the ground.

Donald Lim claimed in the same Penang MCA Economy forum that the poor GDP record this year has put Penang behind the national GDP of 5.3%. This is unusual and goes against the economic trend that Penang, as an industrialised state with 97% of GDP from manufacturing and services sector, will either perform better than the national GDP when GDP is growing or worse than the national GDP when growth is slowing by a factor of at least 10%.

In other words if Malaysia’s GDP is growing 5%, then Penang GDP will be at least 10% higher with a growth rate of at least 5.5%. Likewise if Malaysia suffers a negative growth of -2% then Penang will slow down even more, with a larger negative growth of more than -2.2%. Penang’s reliance on trade results in Penang being directly exposed and affected by the health of the world economy.

With no natural resources, Penang relies on our human resources to generate growth in the manufacturing and services sector, which has resulted in Penang contributing to 25% of Malaysia’s imports and exports, more than 60% of Malaysia’s medical tourism receipts and comprising 28% of Malaysia’s FDI in 2010 and 2011.

Such claims by Donald Lim are so divorced from reality that he should do his homework and check whether sectors such as medical tourism are slowing down with negative growth. Instead almost every private hospital is expanding. The illogical reasoning and self-contradiction of Donald Lim reflects his lack of understanding of how the economy works. This lack of economic knowledge is cruelly exposed when he talks about rising property prices in Penang in a slowing economy.

Property prices are always associated with a booming economy, never with an economy that is slowing down. Penang must be the only place in the world where property prices are going up when the economy is slowing down. I know that Donald Lim has not read economics at university but can Donald Lim do his homework to learn what economics is all about before embarrassing Malaysians with his ignorance and incompetence?

LIM GUAN ENG

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槟州首席部长林冠英于2012年11月25日在槟城发表的文告。

国阵不应该将经济数据政治化,声称槟城经济负成长,这说法不符合实际情况,因为即使是中小型企业也申诉他们最大的问题反而是员工短缺。

槟州政府非常遗憾副财政部长林祥才在槟州马华经济座谈会中不负责任地操弄经济数据,让国阵在政治上获利。林祥才声称槟州的国内生产总值(GDP)今年首9个月下跌至1.8%,这不能确实反映槟州的真实商业氛围及槟州的员工短缺。

国阵联邦政府不应该将经济政治化,声称槟城经济负成长,这说法不符合实际情况,因为即使是中小型企业也申诉他们最大的问题反而是员工短缺。就在刚过去的周四,我出席中小型企业协会(SAMENTA)在依恩奥酒店举办的晚宴,我被该协会会长告知中小型企业的订单一直都非常稳定,他们面对最大的问题反而是在寻找员工。

也在同一天周四,德国国际跨国公司贝朗(B. Braun)已经宣布从今年开始,将在未来3年在槟城投资17.5亿令吉,而安捷伦科技(Agilent)明年也将在槟城投资2亿美元。这两家跨国公司宣布的投资是否有反映在国阵政府的数据党中。

林祥才无法洞察中小型企业及跨国公司这两个重要领域的发展动向,让人强烈怀疑他的言论可信度,也让人想起国阵过去为了利己,一直操弄数字与数据。远的不说,就说最近国阵声称在降低罪案率方面取得成功,但却无法真实反映出全国罪案一直发生,促使前全国总警长丹斯里慕沙哈山建议重新审阅如今的罪案率,因为罪案率的数据与实际情况不符。

林祥才也在同一个槟州马华经济论坛中声称,糟糕的国内生产总值已经导致槟城被5.3%的全国国内生产总值抛在后头。这是针对槟城经济趋势非常不寻常的说法,槟城作为工业化州属,有高达97%的州国内生产总值是出自制造业及服务业,因此当全国国内生产总值增长的时候,槟州的表现只有比全国的更高出10%,相反的,当全国国内生产总值放缓的时候,槟州表现最多也只会比全国落后10%而已。

换句话说,如果马来西亚的国内生产总值增长5%,槟城国内生产总值将至少比全国高10%,也就是5.5%的增长率。相反的,如果马来西亚面临负增长-2%,那么槟城的负增长最多只会多过2.2%。槟城依靠州内的贸易量,但这也让槟城直接暴露在世界经济当中,受到世界经济的健康与否影响。

在没有天然资源的情形下,槟城靠的是以人力资源带动制造业及服务业成长,这促使槟城贡献全马25%的进出口额,占据全马医药旅游60%的市场份额及2010年、2011年外资投资额占据了全马28%的外资。

因此,林祥才的说法偏离事实,他应该先做好功课,查探医药旅游是否因为负增长而放缓。事实是州内几乎所有的私人医院都正在扩展。林祥才毫无逻辑及自相矛盾的言论显示出他是个对经济运行一窍不通的人。林祥才缺乏经济知识的情况,在他一方面说槟城的房产涨价,另一方面又批评槟城经济放缓的时候,让人一览无遗。

房产价格的调涨永远是根据经济的大事增长,不可能会发生在经济衰退的时候。若按照林祥才的说法,那么槟州将成为全世界绝无仅有,在经济衰退时其房产价格也还能调涨的地方。我明白林祥才当初在大学并没有进修经济,但在他还没以他的无知与无能让大马人尴尬丢脸之前,我想请他先做功课,学一学到底什么是经济?

林冠英

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