GEORGE TOWN, Oct 12 — Penang has recorded an increase in its unemployment rate due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow told the state legislative assembly today.
The Padang Kota assemblyman said the state had expected economic growth in 2020 but it had retracted since April due to the pandemic.
“State think tank Penang Institute conducted a study and estimated the unemployment rate had increased to more than 3 per cent in Penang in 2020 compared to 2 per cent in 2019 and 2.2 per cent in 2018,” he said when reading the state Budget 2021.
Chow attributed this to the retrenchment of workers in the services sector including the hospitality, trading, retail, tourism and property industries.
He said the state had approved the Penang Aid Package in three phases, totalling RM155.5 million, to regenerate the state’s lagging economy.
“The state has also formed the Penang Socio Economic Recovery Consultative Council to formulate short and medium term strategies to stimulate economic growth, attract foreign and local investors while ensuring sustainable socio-economic development post-MCO,” he said in reference to the movement control order.
Earlier, Chow said the services sector in the state had contributed RM48.7 billion or 51.4 per cent while the manufacturing sector contributed RM40.5 billion or 42.8 per cent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The construction sector contributed RM2.6 billion or 2.8 per cent while the agriculture sector contributed RM2.1 billion or 2.2 per cent and the mines and quarries sector contributed RM0.2 billion or 0.2 per cent.
He said Penang’s manufacturing sector recorded total investments of RM9.12 billion between January and June this year.
Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) also reported a total 61 projects in the manufacturing sector in Penang for the same period which will create 6,971 new jobs, he added.
“Penang will continue to work with MIDA to organise more trade missions focusing on countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, India and Middle East,” he said.
He said Penang will continue to focus on bringing in investments in tourism, electrical and electronic manufacturing, medical tourism along with agriculture to increase the state’s competitiveness.