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Friday, December 04, 2009

Penang's FDI free fall due to poor leadership

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's recent admission of turning down of an FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) worth US$3 billion due to his inability to guarantee the prospective investor 1,000 engineers is a shocking case of poor decision-making and incompetence that unfortunately has become the hallmark of the DAP-led Penang state government in the last 18 months.

In all my more than two decades of working experience in the high-tech manufacturing industry around the world, I have never seen a single instance where a state or country turned down a US$3 billion high-tech investment for such a reason.

Any other country or state would have spared no effort to fulfill the investor's every need and requirement in order to secure an investment of such importance and magnitude. What is even more alarming is the chief minister's lack of knowledge of the industry as well as the capabilities and resources available within his own state.

It is hard to comprehend how Guan Eng can allow such a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to slip away as he had numerous options to find the required number of engineers. It is inexcusable that the CM is ignorant of the fact that Penang-based companies like Intel, Altera, Renesas, AMD, Spansion, Osram, Bosch, Lumiled, Agilent, Motorola and many others employ tens of thousands of engineers. In fact, many of these companies have made Penang as their global Research and Development (R & D) centres.

Firstly, local and foreign universities produce Electrical and Electronics (E & E) engineers by the thousands. Secondly, several thousand Penang (and Malaysian) engineers work overseas in countries like Singapore, Taiwan and the US. Many of these engineers would jump at the chance to return home and contribute to the national development and be nearer to their families and friends.

Thirdly, Guan Eng could have followed the example of some high-tech companies (for example, Siltera, Infineon, etc) by recruiting highly specialised engineers from foreign countries as an interim measure until local replacements could be found. A more competent CM would have been aware that countries such as the Philippines and India produce and export English-educated engineers who could be hired in large quantities and at an affordable cost.

Another source of technical resource are retired Japanese engineers, whom the Korean firms have used in the past with stunning effect to bridge the technological gap with their more advanced rivals in high-tech industries.

Fourthly, Guan Eng could have approached the Human Resources Ministry, public and private universities, professional bodies or even other Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states for their assistance in acquiring the necessary engineering resources.

Unfortunately, the Penang CM undertook none of the above-mentioned actions and instead he chose to go the press and lament about the loss and as usual tried to shift the blame onto his political nemeses.

Despite alleged shortcomings, the previous administration under Koh Tsu Khoon did a remarkable job in attracting high-tech FDI, transforming the state from a low-cost assembly center to a high-tech, high value-added design and manufacturing hub.

Tragically, instead of building upon the excellent foundation laid down by his predecessor, Lim Guan Eng appears to have done irreparable damage to the competitiveness of the state by poor decision-making and mismanagement in the last 18 months.

Guan Eng has been lucky that Koh's good work has resulted in a record-breaking RM10.2 billion in FDI for the year 2008. However, as I had correctly predicted, FDI for 2009 had dried up and the result for 2010 likely be gloomier still. Other states like Johor, Perak, Sarawak and even Selangor have done far better and left Penang way behind.

Guan Eng is without doubt the state leader who had made the most number of foreign visits to solicit for FDI. Sadly, he also holds the unwanted distinction of being the least productive as well. For none of these trips seems to have produced any result as we have yet to see a single significant FDI project won solely through the efforts of the new CM.

The reason is not hard to fathom - the state agencies entrusted to bring in FDI are filled with political appointees with little experience or capabilities. Most of these officials seem to be more preoccupied with politics than investment-related tasks.

In the past Guan Eng and DAP had often bitterly complained about the 'brain drain' of Malaysian professionals and skilled workers to other countries due to the lack of opportunities at home. However, in this case, Lim and his DAP themselves are guilty of contributing to the 'brain drain' by squandering such a golden opportunity.

source: malaysiakini

note: while i was seeking info for my computer literature, i saw this. brainy out there, come and give me some figures or fact that can support or against this post ;)


  1. I have read about this article too. Sometimes it is unfair to blame him right. Or perhaps he isn't just cut out for this job? :p

  2. hurm~ look forward bout the details.

  3. I'm no politician or investor, but I think if you cannot supply you should come forth and say so. Trust me, I speak from experience (albeit a very small scale one)... see, we kind of promised to send goods to country A although we knew we were short of manpower and facilities, and as a result, we suffered a lot during that period as you can imagine. And of course with all the nonsense that happened, some of our goods ended up being of inferior quality and country A got really pissed off.

    I think doing that to an investor could be equally as bad.

  4. Oh, btw, I wasn't the one who decided to go forth and accept the ridiculous challenge... I was one of the victims who had to work 8 days a week and ended up falling sick!

  5. haha, if you compare FDI in Malaysia with other ASEAN countries, it's pathetic. We are way behind even Vietnam. With brain drain happening more rapidly, don't blame LGE for the shortfall. Blame the affirmative policies.

  6. tekkaus - politic is dirty, doesn't matter BN or DAP. to me politic = dirty. enough said.

    i was quite surprise to see this in malaysiakini. suppose malaysiakini is opposition website? not sure though.

    balqissy - blaming each other is human nature right? :)

    terra - ah! that's bad. i feel you. i agree with you, it's exactly like you promise to your friend but break it with bad reason.

    joe - but how if it was KTK? you surely blame him don't you? :) i just need a comment that is not bias. but if its truly not, thank you :)

  7. i hate rocket party since the perak political crisis.


  8. meo - based on the newspaper?

  9. the discriminatory policies in this country has nothing to do with KTK. Just look at the response from some malay MPs in Parliament debate a few days back. They even shouted at him and declared that this is a 'malay country'. How pathetic! I foresee degradation of this country accelerating.

  10. ah come on joe, don't make it into a racist debate. not even malay, look at KTK. remember he had a debate with LGE last time? :) its party dirty trick. both party the same :)

  11. Anonymous9:39 PM

    if u ask me , I do not idolize guan eng like many pple do just bcoz he won over penang from KTK , I will treat them both the same until LGE proves he has done an improvement to the state concerning ALL RACES(!) , and pple shud always know that no matter any party , opposition or gov , politics are dirty and no one can be fully trusted

  12. those who say politics is dirty and so on must remember that politics is a necessary evil for people to choose a government.

    As for me being racist accusation, please ask your UMNO MPs don't start it first. They already did much damage to this country because of their racist dumb heads.

  13. Anonymous11:56 AM

    please lah , stop saying words such as "your UMNO MPs don't start it first", just bcoz a person is malay doesnt mean they support umno ok? dont make this racist please

  14. joe - you really give me a great laugh. just because you read a lot of Potter i don't think it made you DUMBledore :) so, indirectly you're saying that because of that UMNO's MP did so, with hatred and vengeance, you MUST give great slap in return? :) is that what you learn from opposition? or written in their sites? don't let the politic poison replace your human blood and brain so that you rational minded will be unstable. you kept talking, writing, commenting about LGE. why not Nik Aziz? isn't he part of opposition? or you've to be bias again, er, i mean racist to your own kind only? man, i didn't know a chemical engineer like you can be this shallow. too much chem in the brain is it? :) don't lose your humanitarian for the sake of "evil-politic" (as referred by you). you're the voice, so they say, they don't even know you. do you think if you got personal problem regarding public transport or road, your idol politician can give his attention to you? you can love them, but don't bash others like you're getting benefit from it. got it? :)

    anonymous - i agree with you. some people just like to debate with muddy-wet-clay-soil evidence :) its dirty and cheap.

  15. shin jieh3:14 PM

    faisal , ur blog has been really good and brave , plse dun stop writing , i began reading ur blog after my friend asked me to check it out(im chinese and he is indian ) ......

    to joe : politicians always will be racist to simply ignite tension , dun label an entire race based on some dimwit racist remarks by politicians

  16. welcome shien :) thanks for the support and of course i won't stop writing. just that it'll be delay for update sometimes as couldn't find much time to update especially when i'm struggling for exams :)

    people who read this blog (which i always think it's crappy) are like oxygen. it'll be alive as long as people are reading it :)

  17. with federal govt not helping at all... he cant do much.

  18. is that mean, we have to vote the one that can give us 100% instead of lower percentage since no help given by federal?

  19. Nik Aiziz only champions for muslims' rights and islamic state. That's the doctrine for PAS too. That really pissed me off. It's them who are biased, not me. If PKR stays neutral, I will support them too.

  20. lol. you are racist shit. i don't entertain :)

  21. Me racist shit? What if LGE only champion for buddist or taoist or chinese rights? Will you accept him?

  22. back to the main point. politic = dirty = shit. who bring the racist issue if not politician? not only BN, opposition too, doesn't matter pkr, pas or dap. all the same.

    i never have problem with my friends who are different race and religion. but they make it big deal and some shallow citizens believe them :)

  23. the policies in malaysia is racist. This is not only thought by a few dirty politicians.

  24. lol. go read act. at least basic law. if you want i got few books to lend :)

  25. don't tell me about social contract. it's racist and should be thrown out thru window.

  26. lol, why not you write a letter to authority? no gut? or no ball to be exact?


  27. adlie9:59 AM

    p/s Joe...
    i think u are not mature enough to understand what is POLITICS.... just don't be human without brain.

    p/s admar
    long time no comment ur article.... but i like this topic n joe oppinions.

  28. Anonymous9:37 PM

    hahaha , u r the last person i will call racist fact, malaysia will be a better place if all the polticians are like u

  29. adlie - haha! you are so blunt :)

    anonymous - thanks :) that really make my day.

  30. Anonymous1:20 AM

    Talking about counting chickens before they're hatched, or in your case criticizing for the sake of your political leanings despite continually declaring "politics are dirty" Well, the title of your opinion piece is a dead giveaway. Thank you for your spiteful and Malay supremacist utterings (or mutterings) Cheerio, FYI, Penang outdid every state in FDI. Never count chickens before they're hatched. And don;t try to hide your supremacist and BN tendencies behind "Doh! politics are dirty."

    I just came across this, the opinion piece is waiting to be criticized, so I say, "Why not?"

  31. It’s too bad that you do not have name or nickname in here so it will be easier for me to call you :) (I mean, why anonymous?)
    I re-read the post again and there is no Malay supremacist (as you put it that way) or maybe you can highlight it for me so it would be cleared for me or others to see?
    By reading your comment, I bet it turns other way round. Maybe it’s not good for me to state in here but I guess the readers could tell as well who is supremacist or worse racist here?
    Instead of put it indirectly like a poem about the chicken and hatching stuff why not put it in words that others can understand easily. It does not matter if you are blunt. As long as the message could be delivered clearly, then it should be good.
    So, you are saying that politic is “cute”? Be solid :)

  32. Writer 's second point not real or true,


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