The dynamism of Penang

Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

To get the attention of international media, in particular someone in the likes of The Economist, is not anything we can buy with money.

The Economist recently reported the transformation of Penang and its dynamic economy.

Penang is nothing more than just a tiny dot in our enormous world, and to fall into the limelight of international media and receive very high acclaims would be more like holding a winning lottery ticket in hand.

We need sheer luck to win the lottery, but a lot of effort and real strength to gain global recognition.

Some might accuse the state government for buying over the heart of The Economist journalist, but such moronic speculation doesn’t deserve even the slightest discretion.

International media show the least interest in our political crossfire. They only have the big picture in their mind.

No matter how boisterous and noisy is the Komtar madman Mohd Ghani in front of the state government offices, or some weird people dumping animal carcasses in front of the state government building, such disruptions would hardly dent the overall picture.

What really matters is whether the state government has a distinct direction. People are only concerned whether the state government performs, and whether its leaders are capable.

If you have visited Penang lately, perhaps you would sense some changes. The streets are now tidier, and the roadside stalls cleaner. The town is bursting with activity and the public have less to grumble about.

Such impressions that come naturally to anyone visiting Penang are a lot more solid than noisily chanting slogans and propaganda.

Where economic development is concerned, Penang appears to have moved on the right track.

The state government has harnessed on the Unesco cultural heritage status to promote tourism. This coupled with cleaner streets and improved amenities has managed to lure more visitors to the state.

Penang’s achievements in medical tourism development are particularly eye-catching.

A heart surgery will easily cost US$100,000 in the United States, but only a tenth as much in Penang. Pampered with the vast price disparity but minimal differences in technological sophistication, patients still enjoy highly personalised and professional care while in Penang.

It has been reported that a specialist centre on the island has predicted 70,000 medical tourists this year, 20,000 of them coming here for heart-related problems.

As if that is not enough, boom has returned to the state’s electronic industry. While some electronic bellwethers relocated to China several years ago, some have now opted to return to Penang due to the rising costs and lack of transparency in China.

Low cost coupled with state-of-the-art technology, Penang has booked itself a place in the international economic value chain.

Sure enough the new state government should take the credit for the positive change, we must not write off the efforts contributed by the past administration. So, this shouldn’t make another topic of political contention.

There is no need for the federal government to shed some negative light on Penang’s transformation. Instead, it should collaborate with the state government and provide the necessary facilities, funds, infrastructure and assistance.

In addition, it can also learn from Penang’s experience, emulate its development model and apply it to other states as well as the country in whole.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 - 9:48 pm

    Lim Guan Eng has done a good job on Penang. Keep it up Guan Eng!

  2. #2 by negarawan on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 - 10:00 pm

    Keep up the good work DAP! Turn Penang into the next Asian Tiger and put UMNO to shame…

  3. #3 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 - 10:05 pm

    No wonder Nazri was “inviting” DAP to think about it!!!! This is the highest praise you can get from someone who has been taunting you whenever has the chance! No wonder MCA was worked up. Taliking of MCA, the most important portfolio given to it has literally become a deadfish. Who is exactly running the MOT? You have a Minister who only cares about doing the routine ceremonies and coupled with a KSU [ and I heard the ONLY CHINESE at that level !!] who is as dumb as dumb can be. Ni wonder even UMNO does not give a damn; in spite of being given a hand in PKFZ venture. And of the so-called road department, JPJ, all they could do is to enpower PUSPAKOM to create all unnecessary problem to the car owner who wants to sell his car. The registartion card, gazetted in the Transport Act of 1987 is not enough even though the card is equivalent to the maritime Bill of lading in term of ownership! they want the original sale receipt!!! We really have an A… H… running such a Ministry! For that matter, I was told by blokes in the freighting industry that seeing such dumb Ministry running the show, the shipping lines even blocked consignees’ contaiuners after they have submitted their BLs in exchange for the delivery Orders!!! With such problems frsutrating the local port users and the freighting industry, we have to sit back to see if BN can take back those seats directly affected with the ports in the country!!! PR, just keep doing the right things; which are rather simple indeed, they may see miracle!!!

  4. #4 by pulau_sibu on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 - 10:13 pm

    i think people at foreign countries have the health insurance.

    i was surprised that mahathir and other ministers did not operate their heart in penang.

    your heart surgery in penang will become more well known when you get Dr. Sim of SUPP from Sarawak….a talented person like him should not get into dirty politics business. only doctors with bad heart go to politics to get richer and faster.

    > A heart surgery will easily cost US$100,000 in the United States, but only a tenth as much in Penang.

  5. #5 by monsterball on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 - 10:28 pm

    The Economist cannot be bribed and is the most sort out news magazine by business minded through out the world.
    UMNO B will ignore if the try to insult the paper can be bought to compliment Penang….Economist will not be like our nice crooks..and dare not sue anyone.
    Lim Guan Eng should keep doing all good and ignore BN crooks negative comments about him or the State.

  6. #6 by limkamput on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 - 11:18 pm

    I am a frequent visitor to Penang. I would like to see a quicker and more significant change of Penang in cleanliness and orderliness. I think hawker stalls are still dirty, drains are clogged up emitting stench, and traffic system is haphazard and disorderly with illegal parking almost everywhere.

    Second, Penang as the medical tourism centre is to be proud of. But as citizens of Penang and this country, we should perhaps ask the state of medical care in this country in terms of affordability and quality (I am aware health is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. May be this is another area for “de-federation” in the future. The health service provided by the federal government now is too inefficient and high cost). How many Malaysians can generally afford the medical fees of the private hospitals as mentioned although it is considered cheap to foreigners?

    Third, we should ask why some investors, particularly those in the electronic industry, are returning to Penang and this country. This is not because they love us or find us more attractive. The wage level of this country has grown much slower than those in China. In 5 to ten years, the wage level in China would be higher than Malaysia. So my obvious next question is where did the benefits of our growth go? In Malaysia, who made all the money – from electronic industry to express bus companies (remember they want to recruit foreigners as our express bus drivers now)?

    I am supportive of PR and LGE as the CM of Penang, no doubt about that. An occasional article in the Economist does not mean a thing. Ultimately it is us – how we look at policies comprehensively and holistically to spur Penang ahead and be the real example for other states to follow. But as I have said, the pace must be quicker and the change must be on things that the people can see, feel and relate to.

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Thursday, 18 August 2011 - 7:23 am

    Only a desperate government will look everywhere for investment including health-threatening investment from Lynas Corp of Australia.

  8. #8 by yhsiew on Thursday, 18 August 2011 - 7:26 am


    #7 should be posted to “Malaysia Looks West for Investments”

  9. #9 by monsterball on Thursday, 18 August 2011 - 9:27 am

    There are plenty Malaysians left and become dish washers ..working in a ship that frequently stop at Penang.
    These dish washers and toilets cleaners have so many bright ideas how to make Penang a better place…..a never ending critic to prove how smart they are…..yet they never vote or have the guts to stay in Malaysia …because such big mouths..can never get a job in Malaysia.
    They brag too much….talk big and blame others.

  10. #10 by boh-liao on Thursday, 18 August 2011 - 10:19 am

    Did NR n his cousin order d article in The Economist 2 b BLACKENED?

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Thursday, 18 August 2011 - 2:11 pm

    Ai ya ya, watch out 星 洲, d sio lan is hopping mad n will certainly dump sai, aml parts, big n small ko fins in front of SCD office 1

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Thursday, 18 August 2011 - 5:35 pm

    D same sio lan 光大狂人 n frens oredi burning papers in front of The Star (faithful followers of a burn burn senator), some more use YELLOW posters, no polis kacau

  13. #13 by monsterball on Thursday, 18 August 2011 - 9:12 pm

    One braggart…one cracko.
    What else?

  14. #14 by good coolie on Thursday, 18 August 2011 - 10:15 pm

    I am an Earl of the Pearl of the Orient myself, though a traitor for leaving Penang (even Evita had abandoned Argentina). I miss the drab and dirty old world; congratulations to PKR for polishing the pearl. Thumb your noses at Barisan! PKR can do for the whole of Malaysia what PKR have done for little Penang.
    How to do the CAPTCHA? Well, half-close your eyes, letting your eye-lids filter away most of the light from the computer screen. You will see the Captcha captured.

  15. #15 by jus legitimum on Saturday, 20 August 2011 - 1:22 am

    No need for the Police to investigate and find out who had tried to burn down the DAP HQ in Penang.Based on their track records,the party and its followers repeatedly warned of burning premises of opposition parties is none other than Dumno.So the police should focus and get the culprits quickly.

You must be logged in to post a comment.