Friday, June 13, 2008

Kah Choon's plan: Penang a MICE hub - The Sun

GEORGE TOWN (June 13, 2008): By Opalyn Mok

InvestPenang aims to turn Penang into a premier hub for meetings, incentives and exhibitions (MICE) in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Golden Triangle (IMT GT).
InvestPenang executive director Datuk Lee Kah Choon said one of the shortcomings of Penang is the lack of international standard MICE facilities.

"So we are seriously looking at pulling in investors to develop MICE facilities here," he said.

The state government has already identified four sites on the island and mainland which can be used to build a MICE centre, complete with infrastructure and facilities.

"We will need to conduct feasibility studies first to see the suitability of the land," he said, adding that the plots identified include state-owned and reclamation land.

The project will be opened up for tender by any foreign or even local investors. The whole process will include a request for concept, request for proposal and request for quotation from the interested investors.

"Only the most competitive bidder will get the job and we hope to kickstart this whole project in two to three years," he told a press conference on the future plans and current investment issues in Penang at InvestPenang office in Bayan Baru here on today.

He added that InvestPenang is also streamlining its expenditure due to rising costs but this does not mean it is cutting down its staff or its investment missions.

"We will continue to intensify investment missions internationally and locally but we will do it at lower costs by flying economy, staying at three-star hotels or less and car pooling for domestic travel," he said.

Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi, who is also a member of the board of committee of InvestPenang and who was present at the press conference, said there is a need for the federal government to look at giving tax reliefs for the industries and investors here to cushion the effect of the petrol price hike.

"One of the companies have told me that due to increasing costs, the company will have to fork out additional RM42 million per year," he said.

He added although the government introduced measures to cushion the effects for Malaysians at large, the industries and investors were forgotten.

"They are the major consumers of energy and they should at least be given tax relief or have their corporate tax abolished for this year," he said.

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