GEORGE TOWN (May 22, 2008)
Japan's Ibiden Co. Ltd's plans to invest RM1.2 billion in Penang indicating that investors have confidence in the new state government's administration.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Ibiden's announcement to invest the sum in a new manufacturing facility in Penang reflected the company's confidence in the state government.
"It was not easy to close this deal and since we are able to close it, it shows that investors' confidence in the state's stability is still there," he said in a press conference to announce Ibiden's investment in Penang in his L28 Menara Komtar office today.
When asked to comment on whether the current turmoil in Umno could cause adverse reactions amongst investors, Lim said this first large investment by a company since the DAP and PKR took over the state government is a good enough example.
"Ibiden would not have made this billion-ringgit decision without proper consideration and I hope their decision will send a message to other investors.
"Whatever happens and whatever the scenario, Penang will still be stable and we are happy to gain the confidence of Ibiden," he said.
Lim also hinted at an upcoming announcement of another major investment by a foreign investor next week.
"We are expecting a global slowdown by the end of this year, so for the next few months, we need to get more investors in," he added.
He said the state government had also set up a special task force to ensure smooth implementation of the project and help Ibiden with any problems they may face in setting up their manufacturing facility here.
"I am heading this task force to help speed up the process for Ibiden," he said.
Lim also said a special task force will be set up to help in other significant investment projects in the state costing a minimum of RM1 billion, so that they could deal with any problems or delays immediately.
Earlier, Ibiden's Printed Wiring Board manager executive officer Ito Sotaro said the investment will be split into two phases with the construction of phase one of the factory to start next month and expected to be in full operations by the end of 2009.
"The factory will be manufacturing high performance and high density printed wiring board to cater for increased market demand for mobile phones," he said.
He said the company had started scouting for suitable countries to set up the factory about two years back and had decided on Penang after considering other industrial zones in Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Kedah.
When asked if the political situation in Malaysia would have affected their decision, Ibiden Malaysia Sdn Bhd director Jenny Chan said they believed the policy, whether in federal or state levels, is the same and that they trusted the democratic system in this country.