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Remarks by Lim Guan Eng at InvestPenang Dinner For Members of The Electronic and Electrical Industry on Thursday, 6th January 2011: 

Urges the Home Ministry to approve on the spot visas for selected companies to bring in professional and specialist talents 

Penang has to intensify efforts to transform Penang into an intelligent and international city if we are to achieve high-income status of USD15,000 GDP per capita by 2020. Penang GDP is presently over RM47 billion and must be doubled to RM 95 billion to achieve USD 15,000(RM45,000) per capita GDP from the present USD 10,000 (RM30,000). To succeed, Penang must adhere to five basic conditions:-

  1. enjoy good governance that is competent, accountable and transparent with a world-class civil service and integrity in leadership,

  2. train, retrain, retain and attract new human talent;

  3. establish a dynamic and vibrant community of art culture and entertainment;

  4. ensure a safe environment that respects the rule of law;

  5. an inclusive people's government that is committed to public-private partnership; and

  6. A livable Penang that is cleaner, greener and smarter.

Government reforms have brought forth tangible reforms with record budget surpluses that won praise not only from the Auditor-General but also from Transparency International for fighting corruption. The establishment of CAT centers, Penang Tech Center, education hubs and indubator laboratories is directed towards developing digital intelligence and building human talent. A green approach from 'No Free Plastic Bag Campaigns' to 3R recycling bin every 100 steps to make Penang a habitat of choice.

The Penang state government is making strenous efforts to double our investment to RM4.2 billion in 2010 from RM 2.1 billion in 2009. We will await the results to be announced next week. However to assist our efforts to make Penang the location of choice for investors, the Home Ministry should allow certain companies wanting to hire and bring in foreign professionals and specialist talents a certain allocation that allows them to bring them in automatically. Every major company should be given a specified number of "on the spot" approval of visa application for foreign nationals so as to allow these companies the leverage to bring in these talents that are difficult to source and fit the job description within Malaysia.

As human talents is the new oil of the 21st century, there is no reason for restricting the entry of high-end professionals and companies as they would not misuse these on the spot visas. The Penang state government urges the Home Ministry to allow the approval of "on the spot" visas to help attract more global talent to Malaysia and assist with the efforts to transform Penang into an intelligent and international city. I shall be writing to Home Ministry Dato Hishamudin Tun Huseein Onn and Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato Mustapa Mohamad to facilitate the entry of the best and brightest in Malaysia.

*Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister



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