GEORGE TOWN, Dec 7 — Penang expects to record a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6 per cent this year, up from 5.6 per cent in 2016, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.
Lim based the forecast on the state’s performance in terms of investments this year.
According to figures released by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), Penang topped the list with approved investments in manufacturing valued at RM7.7 billion in the first half of 2017.
Penang’s manufacturing sector also contributed 45 per cent of the total investments in Malaysia.
“Based on these, we are confident of achieving a 6 per cent GDP growth this year,” Lim said in his speech at the opening of Regus business centre in Menara Boustead this morning.
Lim said Penang’s GDP growth in 2016 had outperformed the country’s overall expansion of 4.2 per cent. Penang’s manufacturing GDP grew 5.4 per cent while its services sector recorded a 5.6 per cent increase last year.
“In 2016, Penang also recorded the second largest investments for global establishments for services or principal hub with an investment value of RM4.1 billion, after Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
He added that this year, Austrian-based Swarovski, leading automotive software company Luxoft, Power Integrations and Teleperformance have announced their global business services (GBS) investments in Penang, while Toray and UST Global have increased re-investments in Penang.
On the opening of the new Regus’ new business centre, Lim said it will increase the available work and office space in Penang.
“The demand for office space, especially for MSC status buildings, is increasing in Penang as Penang continues to attract more investments and business expansion,” he said.
He said a Knight Frank 2016 Real Estate Highlights reported occupancy rates for prime office buildings in George Town ranged from 86 per cent to 100 per cent and newer buildings in Bayan Baru have occupancy of around 97 per cent.
Even the co-working space in @CAT Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, which is a state initiative, recorded an average of 94 per cent daily occupancy rate.
“Penang has the highest occupancy of office space in Malaysia,” he said.
With the opening of flexible workspaces provided by Regus, Lim said local small medium enterprises (SMEs) and businesses can leverage on these flexible working options to increase productivity and enhance their growth.
He said Penang currently has more than 6,800 SMEs.