PENANG can expect strong economic growth this year following the upgrade in ranking by Moody’s Investor Service outlook in November.
KPMG Penang Partner-in-Charge Ooi Kok Sheng said the rating upgrade was an encouraging sign for the country.
“With active steps taken by the Government to implement fiscal reforms, Malaysia remains resilient amidst global economic uncertainty,” said Ooi.
He was speaking during KPMG Penang’s inaugural Economic Outlook Roundtable session at their new office at the Hunza Tower in Kelawei Road, George Town.
“Penang remains a highly attractive location for local and foreign investors alike.
“It is also noteworthy that Penang ranks as one of the top emering business processing locations worldwide.”
He said KPMG Penang saw tourism as a key sector for the state and expected it to remain as the mainstay for the state government in terms of revenue.
“Penang’s hospitality industry is expected to chalk good returns, particularly as occupancy rates are slated for an upswing.
“Tourist arrivals are not limited to the Asean region. The state has many visitors from all over the globe.”
Ooi also anticipated a sustained demand for audit, tax and advisory work in 2014.
“With Penang as a manufacturing and export hub for the northern region and dubbed the semiconductor Silicon Valley of Malaysia, many public-listed companies have based their operations in the state,” he said.
Malaysian Association Hotels (Penang Chapter) chairman Mary Ann Harris said prospects for the state’s tourism sector looked good in Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
“However, we are not without our problems as we are in urgent need of a viable public transportation system,” said Harris.
Penang Rehda chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said the state should benchmark according to international standards, rather than local.
“We have been noted as one of the best food destinations in the world and one of the most liveable cities in the world,” he said.
“It is time for us to set a global benchmark in other sectors.”
– The Star/Asia News Network
‘Penang set for healthy growth’
THE opening of the Second Penang Bridge, six new hotels and an influx of medical tourists into the state are expected to keep Penang’s economy healthy this year, say captains of various industries.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang chapter chairman Dr Mary Ann Harris said the soon-to-be opened longest bridge in Southeast Asia is expected to be a tourism draw.
“There is definitely going to be more tourists drawn to the new bridge and we expect many of them to participate in the Penang Bridge International Marathon 2014, which is expected to be held at the second bridge,” she said.
The RM4.5 billion Second Penang Bridge, which connects Batu Maung on the island to Batu Kawan in the mainland, serves as a second land crossing after the first Penang Bridge was opened in 1985.
Harris was speaking after presenting Penang’s economic outlook for 2014 at a roundtable session hosted by audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG Penang here yesterday.
The roundtable, which was opened by state executive councillor Datuk Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim; also saw presentations from the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda), Penang branch chairman, Datuk Jerry Chan; the Free Industrial Zone, Penang, Companies’ Association president Heng Huck Lee; investPenang general manager Loo Lee Lian; and Malaysian American Electronics Industry (MAEI) Association chairman Datuk Wong Siew Hai.
Also present were KPMG Malaysia managing partner Johan Idris and KPMG’s northern region partner-in-charge Ooi Kok Seng.
Harris said the state’s tourism sector is expected to see the entry of six new hotels of two- to five-star, and the availability of some 1,000 room keys.
MAH Penang’s membership is made up of 50 hotels with a total of 10,000 room keys.
Among the new properties expected to open their doors include the Royale Bintang and Rice Miller Hotel, which are both located at Weld Quay.
Other projects are said to include a hotel in Seberang Jaya and serviced apartments in Teluk Kumbar on the island.
Meanwhile, Penang Health Association chairman Datuk Dr Chan Kok Ewe told the roundtable session that seven private hospitals in Penang (with a total of over 1,000 beds), which are members of the association, had recorded RM370 million in revenue from medical tourists last year.
“Prospects for this sector are encouraging. There have also been suggestions to make Yangon in Myanmar a sister city of George Town in Penang, due to the shared heritage of the two cities.
“There is also anticipated demand from medical tourists in China but whether our hospitals, which have been making significant investments with expansion programmes to cater to medical tourists, can cope with the capacity is the question,” he added, saying that private hospitals in the state are also experiencing manpower shortage.
Meanwhile, Johan in his welcoming address, said KPMG Penang expects the state’s property sector to maintain its momentum throughout this year.
“The industry has certainly fared positively with healthy uptake in retail, residential and industrial lots and is indeed diverse, given the many types of businesses operating in there.”
– Business Times