“Eight Samurai” from Japan, Germany & US lead Penang transformational journey
15 Aug 2022
The US, Japan and Germany remain firmly placed in Penang’s list of foreign investors with a combined number of 12 approved projects in the state, Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow said.
Chow was speaking an intimate celebration to mark the 50th year since these companies set foot in the state, hosted by the Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MGCC) together with the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and Japanese Chamber of Trade and Industry, Malaysia (JACTIM).
The intimate friendship gala was also attended by the special investment adviser to the chief minister and InvestPenang director Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) Penang director Ghaddaffi Sardar and InvestPenang chief executive officer Datuk Loo Lee Lian.
“Penang’s transformational journey began with the arrival of the Eight Samurai, pioneer companies from the US, Germany and Japan which led us to become synonymous with manufacturing excellence as well as one of Malaysia’s key focal points of investment inflows and external trade.
“As you all know, 2021 was an exceptional year for Penang with a record high of RM76.2 billion in total approved manufacturing investments. In particular, foreign direct investments (FDI) contributed 98 per cent of the total investment inflows, making Penang the highest manufacturing FDI recipient in Malaysia,” he said.
AMCHAM chief executive officer Siobhan M Das said the three chambers represented some of the first investors into Penang and a small celebration was held to pay homage to these pioneers.
“Today, the US presence is well established with over 80 companies – not just in the electrical and electronic (E&E) sector but increasingly industries that are building on top of the foundation laid down by these early movers – medical devices, automotive and aerospace.
“All supported by an intricate web of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – all who have seen their presence impacted by this initial spark,” she said.
MGCC executive director Daniel Bernbeck said the chamber can continue – with the cooperation of the industry, the chambers and the state government – the industry-driven technical vocational training.
He said this was crucial for the continuous technical innovation for the competitiveness of Malaysia as a destination for international investors.
“Malaysia has to keep up with the competition in the region, citing the example of Thailand which is offering foreign investors and staff a 10-year employment pass to drive investment into the country,” he said.
JACTIM president Daiji Kojima said Penang, often referred to as the Silicon Valley of Asia, was one of the most important manufacturing bases for the E&E industry, not only in Malaysia but also in the world.
“Today, 26 JACTIM member companies are operating in Penang and this year also marks the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy.
“Since 1982, under the advocacy of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, we have accepted 26,000 Malaysian people to Japan to learn Japanese values, work ethics, high- technology and environmental solutions.
“JACTIM aims to contribute to Malaysia for the next five, 10 and 50 years,” Kojima said.