Penang guarantees ‘only high-tech sector’ to populate new technology park
13 Jun 2022
The Penang government has given its assurance that only high-tech industries will be sited at the proposed 339-hectare new industrial area, known as the Penang Technology Park, at Jalan Tun Hamdan Sheikh Tahir in Kepala Batas.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said although the Penang Technology Park would be developed by a private developer, the state government, through the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and Invest Penang, would advise the developer on foreign investments in the said area.
“The new industrial area will involve the high-technology sector, similar to the one in Batu Kawan, where most of the companies are high-technology companies such as those in the semi-conductor, aerospace industry, medical devices manufacturing industry and others.
“The state government has also been made to understand by the developer that they have received commitments from the Finance Ministry and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) on incentive offers to companies and foreign investors intending to invest there,” he told newsmen here today.
On Saturday, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican had asked the state government for more information on its choice of industry, following public concerns that the construction of centralised labour quarters (CLQ) in the area could lead to an influx of unskilled foreign workers.
“We want an industry based on high technology because we do not want to depend on unskilled workers.
“Those workers are to be placed in the CLQ in the industrial area and it is easy to understand, (there will be an) influx of workers (from abroad),” he was quoted as saying after the launch of the eSports Youth Cabin.
Reezal Merican had said that he was against the CLQ and had also made his stand known to the Penang City Council mayor and the project developer.
Previously, residents from more than 10 housing estates near the project site had held a peaceful protest against the proposed construction of the CLQ in the area, which would result in the placement of thousands of foreign workers there.
They had claimed that the development should be moved to the Ara Kuda area in Tasek Gelugor, which is not too far away.
Elaborating, Chow said the development of the new industrial area would be on a 800-acre site which has been an industrial zone since 2004.
However, development by the private developer only began this year.
“The development of the new industrial area will balance industrial development between Seberang Prai and the island and turn Seberang Prai Utara (SPU) as an industrial area based on high-technology.
“Phase one will involve infrastructure development such as roads, drainage, water and electrical supply for the use of investors, which are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
“Phase two will involve the development of small and medium enterprises (SME) upon the completion of phase one,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chow said the development of the CLQ in the new industrial park area was one of the requirements needed to be provided to workers, regardless of whether they are foreign or local workers, in the industrial area.
“It is also a policy set by the Human Resources Ministry that needs to be adhered to where employers need to provide shelter for their employees.
“It is also to avoid social problems if foreign workers are placed in the area where locals stay, locals would not like to see a house inhabited by dozens of foreigners, so the construction of a CLQ can overcome this problem,” he said.