Plant closure & relocation of production lines are ‘old news’

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG YAB TUAN CHOW KON YEOW IN KOMTAR, GEORGE TOWN, PENANG ON THE 15TH OF MAY 2019

It is most unfortunate that MCA vice-president, Datuk Tan Teik Cheng tried to recycle ‘old news’ and give them a spin in his commentary on Penang’s investment and E&E industry; published in English and Chinese daily last week.

I would like to refute his claims with facts and figures for the benefit of the community.

Tan had reportedly said that seven multinational electrical and electronics (E&E) factories have shut, resulting in 5,245 employees losing their jobs since 2015 to March this year.

I consider this as an ‘old news’ given that out of the 5,245 affected employees being mentioned in the statement, a total of 5,195 employees were impacted between September 2015 and June 2017. We did not witness any cases in 2018.

It is to note that most retrenched workers will find new job opportunities that are readily available because of ongoing investment.

In fact, on average, new investments in Penang have created 10,000 jobs annually. Penang houses more than 350 MNCs and the number is increasing yearly while the average FDI into Penang (mainly from the E&E sector) is about RM5 billion yearly.

In addition, Penang’s unemployment rate was only at 2.1% in 2017, the second lowest among the states. Malaysia’s unemployment rate was 3.4% in 2017.

Meanwhile, year-to-date, Penang is only experiencing a very small-scale headcount reduction by a few companies, and there is no plant closure.

It is important to note that the E&E business is cyclical, highly competitive and innovation-based. It is common for E&E companies to have continuous reorganisation and rationalisation.

In 2018, we saw many corporates had reserved their investment decision as they took the ‘wait and see’ approach on the United States-China trade war development.

In the near-term, the outlook of the global E&E industry could remain cloudy as the tensed relationship between the world two super powers dampened the global trade and consumer sentiments. However, Penang could benefit in the mid to long run due to corporates’ strategy in diversifying their investment destination.

We are now working with several serious potential investors. The state government wants to focus on high quality investment that creates high value jobs and suit our industry profile. We are not keen in pursuing low quality investment which may bring in huge investment amount but requires low technology and massive labour workforce.

Last but not least, Penang is the power house that drives the E&E sector in Malaysia, no doubt. In 2018, the E&E sector represented 38% of Malaysia’s total export, amounting to RM380 billion (up 11% year-on-year) and created a trade surplus of RM119 billion. This shows how important Penang is to the economy of Malaysia.

CHOW KON YEOW


槟州首席部长曹观友于2019年5月15日在槟城乔治市光大发表文告

工厂关闭和生产线搬迁属“旧闻”

马华副总会长拿督陈德钦试图回收“旧闻”,以便其可以再次针对槟城投资和电子和电气(E&E)领域做出评论,并于上周获刊登在英文与中文报章,我对此感到遗憾。

为了社会利益,我想在此以事实和数据来反驳陈氏的主张。

根据报道,陈氏指从2015年至今年3月,槟州共有7家跨国电子厂关闭,导致5242名员工失业。

我将陈氏在文告中提及有5245名员工受影响的言论视为“旧闻”,那是因为当中的5195人是于2015年9月至2017年6月期间受到影响。我们并未在2018年录得任何受影响案件。

值得注意的是,由于槟州持续取得投资,因此大多数被裁退的员工都找到新的就业机会。

事实上,对槟州的新投资每年平均创造了1万个工作机会。槟州拥有超过350家的跨国企业,此数量每年持续增长中,而对槟的外来直接投资(FDI)(主要来自电子电气领域)每年平均为50亿令吉。

此外,槟州在2017年的失业率为2.1%,是全国第二低,并低于全国的3.4%。

与此同时,今年迄今为止,槟州只有几家公司进行了小规模的裁员,并没有工厂关闭。

值得注意的是,电子与电气领域具有周期性、高度竞争性和创新性。 电子与电气公司持续的进行重组和是很常见的事。

在2018年,我们看到许多企业在对中美贸易战采取观望态度,对投资决策有所保留。

短期内,由于中美这世界两大超级大国之间的紧张关系打击了全球贸易和消费者情绪,全球电子电气行业的前景可能仍将保持低迷。然而,由于企业在投资多元化的策略,槟城可能在中长期受益。

我们现在正与一些潜在投资者合作。州政府希望专注于高质量的投资,创造高价值及适合我们行业概况的工作岗位。我们并不热衷于追求低质量的投资,这可能带来巨额投资,但需要低技术和大量的劳动力。

最后要强调的是,槟州是推动马来西亚电子电气领域的先驱,这是毋庸置疑的。 2018年,电子电气领域占马来西亚出口总额的38%,达到3800亿令吉(同比增长11%),创造了1190亿令吉的贸易顺差。这说明了槟州对马来西亚经济的重要性。

曹观友