SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT REHDA 43rd ANNUAL DINNER
ON 25TH OCTOBER 2017
AT SPICE CONVENTION CENTER
I wish to thank Dato’ Toh Chin Leong for inviting me to tonight's REHDA’s 43rd Annual Dinner.
It is the state government’s vision and commitment that every Penangite will be able to afford their own home. The state government understands that Penang has a vibrant property market which is good for investors. We do not intervene at the upper echelon housing market as we want to encourage investors to make Penang their habitat of choice. But the state government has a duty and responsibility to provide affordable housing for locals.
The Penang State Government has in the pipeline some 17 affordable housing projects which will see some 27,230 units of various types of affordable housing ranging from RM42,000 to RM300,000 being delivered to Penangites. Under this administration, a total sum of 21,535 units of Affordable Housing Type 'A' and 'B' (Low and Low Medium Cost) were built from 2008 until May, 2017, as opposed to the 5,154 units built from 1999 to 2007. I strongly urge all REHDA members to further develop the housing industry as well as implement affordable and social housing programmes as it contributes to nation building and betterment of life for the people of Penang.
Penang has recorded strong investment in manufacturing sector over last 9 years. In the latest MIDA ( Malaysian Investment Development Authority) announcement last week, Penang topped the national list with total approved investments of RM7.7 billion in the manufacturing sector for the first half of 2017, where No. 2 is RM2.9 biliion. It is also more than the RM4.3 billion investments recorded for the whole of 2016.
Penang’s 1H 2017 total approved investments contributed to 45 per cent of the total RM17 billion investments approved nationwide. For the 9.5-years period between 2008- June 2017, Penang recorded an investment of RM 67 billion, a 81.6% increase compared to the previous 10 years period between 1998 to 2007 of RM 37 billion.
In Malaysia, tourism contributes RM69 billion to the country’s economy in 2016 with 25.7 million visitors. Tourism in Penang is also doing well. Penang International Airport was expected to reach its full capacity of 6.5 million passengers in 2020, but in 2016, this maximum capacity was exceeded at 6.7 million passengers. This year PIA is expected to witness 7.1 million passengers, needing an expansion of the PIA urgently. Even Penang was praised by Qatar Airways for our "magnificent natural scenery" as a factor why they choose Penang, when Qatar Group announced that they will be flying direct from Doha to Penang in February next year.
I wish to also touch on the recent construction work-site tragedy in Tanjung Bungah last week which killed 11 people; one Malaysians site supervisor and 10 foreign workers. The State Government has formed a Penang State Comission of Inquiry headed by former Malaysia Bar Council Chaiman, YBhg. Dato' Yeo Yang Poh and 2 top engineers to determine the cause of this tragedy and punish those responsible.
Whilst this is a construction work-site accident, those responsible must still be punished. The project is built on flat land not on a hill slope. The Commission of Inquiry will also determine whether the quarry caused the landslide as alleged by same parties and also whether this is actually a work-site accident.
The Department of Environment says it did not support the project because there was a quarry. However, MBPP has stressed that Jabatan Mineral & Geo Sains, which is the principal party that is directly responsible for quarries, has supported this project which is more than 700 meters away.
I am happy to note from your video presentation that REHDA is taking the lead in assisting the less fortunate inmates from charitable homes through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. I strongly urge all developers and associates present here this evening to inculcate a CSR culture in all your companies. It has been demonstrated by many multi national companies (MNC’s) that it is possible to be profitable while also being socially and environmentally responsible.
In conclusion, I would once again want to thank REHDA for your invitation and your effort in working closely together with the State Government to transform Penang into an international and intelligent city that is a location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists and a habitat of choice for residents. PENANG LEADS!