Posted: 01 Apr 2011 10:22 PM PDT
Penang welcomes the Federal Government's initiative by Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak to co-develop a Greater Penang Masterplan, which will ultimately result in a major urban conurbation in line with the Penang State Government's vision of creating an international and intelligent city.
We look forward to a cooperative venture. In response and to prove our sincerity and commitment to the Prime Minister's offer, the State Government is willing to set aside our completed Penang Blueprint and Industrial Masterplan for 2011-2015, in favour of the Greater Penang Masterplan.
In order to create a viable and competitive international city, Penang requires major infrastructural enhancement, including improvements to public transportation, roads, airports, port services, internet penetration and communications. As part of our efforts, Penang is now attempting to become the first wireless state in Malaysia by providing free WiFi for all.
Next, great effort and resources must also be targeted at combating the 3Cs of crime, cleanliness and (traffic) congestion. We have already made progressive breakthroughs in these areas. Penang is now visibly cleaner, greener and safer. Last year, Penang recorded a 27% drop in crime index, the largest drop in the whole country, while anyone who has visited Penang in the last three years can attest to its newfound cleanliness. However, traffic congestion remains a major thorn. The State Government has implemented traffic alleviation programmes but a major breakthrough can only be achieved with support from the Federal Government.
With all the above in place, Penang will be well-positioned to make the transformational leap to become an international and intelligent city of the future. To rocket out of the proverbial middle income trap, Penang will have to double our current GDP of RM48 billion in 2010 to RM95 billion by 2020, thereby increasing our GNI per capita from USD10,000 in 2010 to USD15,000 by 2020.
As stated earlier, Penang recorded RM12.2 billion worth of capital investments in 2010, the highest in Malaysia. Of that sum, RM10.5 billion was derived from Foreign Direct Investment, making Penang's share 36% of the entire country's FDI total. We are already leaders in the key area of Electrical & Electronics, and we are now also paving the way in other burgeoning industries such as Bio-Medical, Renewable Energy, Aerospace and Avionics, LED Lighting, Tourism and Healthcare. In 2010, private hospitals in Penang contributed more than 60% of Malaysia's total medical tourism receipts. Georgetown, as everyone knows, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Therefore, we are confident that with this joint collaboration with the Federal Government, and with efficient planning and targeting of resources, the Greater Penang Masterplan will result in not only a cleaner, greener and safer Penang, but also a viable and competitive international and intelligent city of the future.
A Greater Penang will ultimately mean a Greater Malaysia.
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