KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 ― DAP lawmaker Zairil Khir Johari today said it is a “travesty” that Putrajaya excluded Penang from the 11th Malaysia Plan’s (11MP) “city competitiveness master plan”, claiming that it is a cheap shot rooted in partisan politics.
The Bukit Bendera MP said Penang meets all the criteria laid out under the 11MP to qualify as a top city, which includes population size, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution, existing major infrastructure, concentration of higher learning institutions and geographical advantage.
“Penang more than qualifies to be chosen as one of the top four cities to be included in the planned master plan for cities,” Zairil said in a statement today.
“Therefore, its exclusion is nothing less than a travesty that could only have been based on petty and narrow-minded politics,” he added.
Zairil said Penang has the second highest population distribution after Kuala Lumpur as well as being an important contributor to the country’s economy in terms of GDP.
He stressed that the state’s GDP per capita is the third highest at RM46,019 behind Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak, and that it has long been a leading contributor in the manufacturing, healthcare and advanced services sectors.
He added that Penang’s unique location has also made it a major logistics hub for the region, apart from having a thriving education sector.
“Penang is already the logistics hub for the northern region, where the principal seaport, airport and rail stations are located. If anything, there should be much more focus into expanding and integrating the existing infrastructure in order to create a world-class urban conurbation,” Zairil said.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tabled the 11MP in Parliament, outlining an urban development strategy that will boost investments in competitive cities under the city competitiveness master plan.
The cities that were listed under the master plan are Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.