GEORGE TOWN, Sept 5 — Penang’s success in attracting huge investments in the manufacturing sector is due to the state’s ability to prepare a strong talent pool and a robust ecosystem required for the sector’s growth.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the collaborations between the state government and investors had built up the skills and capabilities of the workforce, as well as the technological capabilities of the local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Penang’s achievement did not happen by chance. Through relentless efforts and close collaborations, we have transformed Penang from a low-cost manufacturing destination to a preferred location focused on high value-added and cutting-edge products,” he said at the opening of VAT Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s RM165 million manufacturing facility in Batu Kawan, near here, today.

The facility is an expansion project — VAT Penang Phase 2 — by VAT Manufacturing Malaysia, which is owned by Swiss vacuum valve manufacturer VAT Group AG.

According to Chow, Penang recorded RM9.2 billion in approved manufacturing investments in the first half of this year, representing 35 per cent of Malaysia’s total manufacturing foreign direct investment (FDI) — the highest among the states.

“Our first half 2019 FDI had already surpassed the (whole-year FDI for) 2018 of RM3.7 billion,” he said.

At a press conference later, he said Penang had recently received many enquiries from potential investors, but the state would prefer those planning to invest in the high-tech and research and development industry.

Chow said that apart from seeking new investors, the state was looking forward to reinvestments and further investments from existing key industry players in Penang.

“Winning an investor is much more difficult than reinvestment. This is because existing investors, after a few years, would be comfortable with their ecosystem and there is a need for them to expand their production here,” he said. — Bernama