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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Making Penang more connected, liveable

The concerns of Penang's business community were raised last night during a gathering of the island state's captains of industry, where issues relating to Penang's infrastructure, talent pool and a liveable environment were highlighted.

"If Penang is not to lose its manufacturing sector and de-industrialise, we need to seriously think about making this place more connected and more liveable.

"By focussing on attracting foreign direct investments alone is not enough, for all high-income economies are dependent on both capital and a highly-mobile talent," Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry northern region) chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff Mushir Ariff said during the chamber's annual dinner at G Hotel in Penang.

Founded in 1837, MICCI is the oldest private sector business organisation in Malaysia and today boasts a base of close to 1,000 corporate members.

The chamber traces its history from the formation, in 1837, of its ancestor, The Penang Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.

Stating that it is not a coincidence that the biggest and brightest stars in the high income bracket are all city-regions where business can be conducted easily and comfortably, where talented workers are spoiled for choice in schools and healthcare centres for their families, where local culture is vibrant, Nazir pointed that these cities are usually home to world-class research centres and universities.

"Successful city regions," he added, "also specialise and this means that Penang does not need to become a replica of Hong Kong, Singapore or San Francisco to succeed."

"We should cut the cloth according to our size. We can achieve a good standard of living for our own people and at the same time attract talent and capital to achieve sustainable growth.

"The first step, however, is to get our house-in order."

He said if Penang is serious about becoming a habitat of choice for business, it was imperative for the state to "look and feel like a habitat that works."

"And here," Nazir noted, "the State Government's "Cleaner Greener" initiative needs more pith.

"There is no need to go through the list of things that need to get done. Suffice it to say that the clock is ticking and if we are to secure future growth, we have to make our cities more connected and liveable."

By Business Times

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