Multiple hikes in water costs may have forced investment giants in Penang to relocate or shut down

Dato’ Eric See-To

Another important point that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng did not mention in his “we did better in investments” propaganda two days ago is that over the past 5 years straight, Penang had not been among the top two states in attracting investments.

Penang was 6th, 4th, 3rd, 5th and 4th respectively for the 5 years 2012- 2016.

More critically, Penang’s share of total manufacturing investment out of the national total has been running significantly below the long-term average of 12% achieved under the previous BN government from 1999 to 2007 previously referred to by the Chief Minister.

Not only have Penang under-performed in new manufacturing investments but over the last few years it had lost many large and important investments of the past.

Among others, giants such as Seagate,Western Digital Corp (WD), Blaupunkt, AMD, Motorola, HGST, Amphenol TCS, EMC, UTi, Ericsson, and Rubicon have announced closing down or downsizing their plants in Penang.

As using large amounts of water is fundamental to the manufacture of semiconductors, it is possible that the multiple increases in water costs in Penang may have contributed to their decision to close down or relocate.

Despite DAP’s continuing misleading self-praise propaganda, the reality is that Penang seems to have lost its competitive edge when it comes to attracting investments – preferring to build ever increasing luxury condominiums for foreigners to buy instead.