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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Make Penang offshore financial hub, Govt urged

Developers: Explore incentives to attract banking institutions

PENANG: The Federal Government should explore transforming Penang into an offshore financial centre as part of the state’s intellectual infrastructure development, said Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Penang) chairman Datuk Jerry Chan Fook Sing.

“Research, medical, and management faculties should be developed to enhance the remodelling of Penang as a high-value finance and education hub.

“There are presently countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore where the business environment is less cost competitive for financial and banking institutions to operate.

Datuk Jerry Chan Fook Sing

“These financial institutions and banks are now looking for suitable commercial hubs to expand.

“The Federal Government should explore the incentives it can offer to attract these banking and financial institutions to Penang,” he said.

Chan had earlier spoken on infrastructure-led expansion of the property market in the NCER: Seizing The Opportunities symposium organised by Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd on Saturday.

“By turning Penang into an offshore financial centre, the Government can also attract a lot of the financial talents who are now overseas to come back.

“The British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas are examples of successful offshore financial centres,” he said.

Chan also said to stimulate economic growth in Penang, the Government should not overlook physical infrastructure projects that had been on the drawing board for a very long time.

These included the proposed ring road from George Town to Batu Ferringhi, the ring road from Butterworth to Bukit Mertajam and Nibong Tebal, the expansion of the Penang airport and renovation of the South Seberang Prai hospital.

On the proposed Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) project, Chan said his presence at the symposium did not signal his unreserved endorsement of the project as he was also a resident of the affected Jesselton neighbourhood.

“There are views and concerns of residents on the impact of the PGCC project that the developer, Abad Naluri, must address,” he said.

By The Star (By David Tan)

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