For Immediate Release
Public-Private Dialogue: Making Inroads to Tamp Down Covid Repercussions
The discussion focuses on the multifaceted efforts by the Penang government in addressing industries’ concerns brought by the pandemic as well as to exchange views in strengthening the existing approaches. The State government is confident that the recovery path in Penang remains intact and is committed to promoting public-private collaborations through tightly calibrated plans.
Penang, July 24, 2021 – Penang’s transition into Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) on 7 July is a milestone that progressively revives the State’s industries. Following that, InvestPenang organized a virtual dialogue between the Chief Minister of Penang, Rt. Hon. Mr. Chow Kon Yeow and representatives from the industry. This platform enables the State government to stay informed of the industries’ concerns while keeping the private sector abreast on the State’s ongoing measures to curb the pandemic.
With the ramping up of vaccination centres (PPV) and inoculation rate, the cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in Penang rose to 841,276 as of 23 July, from 334,174 a month ago. Notably, 594,640 individuals in Penang, or 43.5% of the State’s adult population, had received at least the first dose, including 246,636 of whom had completed their vaccination, representing 18.0% of the State’s adult population.
Underpinned by the increase in vaccine administration to about 30,000 doses per day, the State is confident in fulfilling one of the three main threshold indicators set under the Phase 3 of the NRP by the third week of August, i.e. 40% of the adult population to be fully inoculated. Upon entering Phase 3, all economic activities (including those under the non-essential sectors) will be allowed to operate, except for the high-risk activities.
Aside from accelerating the inoculation rate, the Penang State government is also adopting the 3T (testing, tracing, treatment) strategy, which is equally crucial to breaking the chain of Covid infections. The initiatives include the state-funded Penang Covid-19 Screening (PSC-19) programme that provides Covid mass screening for the community which commenced on 5th July and supporting the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers’ (FMM) Penang S.A.F.E. program that provides Deep Throat Saliva (DTS) rt-PCR screening for factory workers at an affordable price.
While the speeding up of mass testing and vaccination remained the State’s utmost priority, attention has also been given to the business community, especially SMEs, in ensuring their sustainability amid the crisis. The State government has rolled out several initiatives for SMEs to adopt digitalization, equipped businesses with the necessary skills and opportunities to engage potential customers in the new normal. In addition, due to the workforce reshuffling across industries and regions, the State government ride on this opportunity by implementing massive drives to attract nationwide talent and strengthen the existing talent pool in Penang, as well as addressing the supply and demand in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) talents to meet the heightened demand for such workforce.
The Penang State government stands firm that any federal decisions on imposing lockdowns or formulating SOPs should be more targeted, as a blanket policy approach is not viable in the current circumstances. To ensure Malaysia’s conducive business environment remained, well-rounded measures that ascertain the balance of the citizens’ well-being, functional healthcare system and sustainable economy are needed. The policymaker should carefully gauge the potential outcomes to prevent cascading effects in Malaysia’s position in the global supply chain and its status as a high-quality investment destination.
Despite the recent surge in Covid cases, the Chief Minister of Penang, Rt. Hon. Mr. Chow Kon Yeow expressed his confidence over the measures taken to minimize Covid impact and recognized the need to fine-tune those measures based on the latest developments. “Recovery path in Penang remains intact and our target to achieve herd immunity by October is achievable, given the sufficiency of vaccine allocation and optimization of the PPVs. This session between the State government and industry players is poised to strengthen the existing approaches, promote better collaborations in tamping down the pandemic repercussions and calibrate more targeted planning going forward.”
Representatives from the State government who attended this dialogue include Penang State Exco for Trade, Industry and Entrepreneurial Development, Dato’ Abdul Halim Hussain, Special Investment Advisor to the Chief Minister of Penang, Dato’ Seri Lee Kah Choon and InvestPenang’s CEO, Dato’ Loo Lee Lian. There were 25 industry representatives from the Penang Manufacturing Industry Advisory Council (PMIAC)*, GBS (Global Business Services) Focus Group Penang and Penang Strategic Investment Advisory Council (PSIAC) who attended the session.
*Members of PMIAC are Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), Association of Malaysian Medical Industries (AMMI), Free Industrial Zone, Penang, Companies’ Association (FREPENCA), Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia (SAMENTA).
InvestPenang is the Penang State Government’s principal agency for promotion of investment. Its objectives are to develop and sustain Penang’s economy by enhancing and continuously supporting business activities in the State through foreign and local investments, including spawning viable new growth centres. To realize its objectives, InvestPenang also runs initiatives like the SMART Penang Centre (providing assistance to SMEs), Penang CAT Centre (for talent attraction and retention) and i4.0 seed fund (a catalyst for the startup ecosystem).
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Yeoh Bit Kun/ Ooi Phei Wen