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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Invest Penang Budget 2009 wish list

PENANG’S investment agency has unveiled its Budget 2009 wish list which includes a request for an investment promotion grant and lower taxes for small businesses.

The list, drawn up with feedback from foreign and local manufacturers, has been submitted to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last month.

“The proposed investment promotion grant can be disbursed to every state investment promotion agency in the country for investment promotion and investor facilitation purposes,” Invest-in-Penang Bhd (investPenang) executive committee chairman Datuk Lee Kah Choon told a media briefing in Penang yesterday.

LEE: List is with the Prime Minister

Present were representatives from the medical devices, engineering, medical tourism and plastics industries. Penang firms also requested:

* a revolving fund to assist public sector industrial park developers,

* lifting the curtailment of gas supply through gas pipelines,

* incentives for the promotion of health services, and

* the continuation of planned infrastructure projects.

Penang is currently home to an estimated 1,500 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and Lee said firms have proposed that corporate tax be reduced gradually from 26 per cent to 15 per cent over five years.

On the request for the revolving fund, Lee said that currently, investors need ready-built facilities which meet their operational specifications.

“Investors prefer not to own the property initially but rather lease it with an option to purchase it later.

“This is why we are proposing the establishment of the fund in the form of soft loans of between zero and four per cent interest rate be given to the public sector developers, like the Penang Development Corp to construct purpose-built buildings,” he said.

By New Straits Times (by Marina Emmanuel)

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