Big drive to grow local talents on Penang’s agenda

THE Penang government will embark on a massive drive to grow its talent pool and increase its population of knowledge workers to enhance the state’s competitive advantage.

InvestPenang director Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon said the availability of qualified talent was critical in attracting foreign direct investments (FDI) and domestic direct investments (DDI).

He said the state’s success in attracting strategic investments would translate into thousands of new and high-quality job opportunities every year.

“This will make Penang the talent magnet in the northern region, mitigating the ‘brain drain’ and loss of talent to other countries, ” said Lee, who is also special investment adviser to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

Lee said Penang was already well-established as a thriving, regional manufacturing hub for global companies in the electrical and electronics (E&E), automation, E&E-related equipment and medical technology sectors.

“While housing elite foreign corporations, Penang also boasts numerous homegrown companies that are thriving on the international stage.

“This success is attributed to the state’s robust supply chain, good infrastructure and conducive living environment, ” he said.

Lee said with such successes, the state’s high-quality talent pool was equally important to propel its advanced manufacturing and knowledge-intensive service sectors.

Presently, a new wave of opportunities are aplenty to the state and Penang will need to capitalise on them, or face losing out to other countries in the race to fill the gap.

He said the current trade and geopolitical dynamics had created opportunities for Penang-based companies to penetrate supply chains that were previously closed to them.

“This includes emerging business blocks that were previously monopolised by multinational companies.

“But in all of this, time is of the essence and the state needs to capitalise on this new wave of opportunities.

“To ride the wave, we need talent, ” he said in a press statement on Monday.

Lee said in 2021, there are continuous challenges lingering on from 2020.

“Yet, we also see opportunities, where the outlook is premised on the following, including the Covid-19 pandemic, closure of international borders, sluggish economic activities, periodic disruptions to manufacturing production, a deferment of direct investments and the US-China trade war.

“Against this backdrop, we are cognisant that the trajectory of the recovery will largely depend on policy responses.

“Toward this end, we must quickly adjust to the structural changes brought by the pandemic and geopolitical tensions, and look to capitalise on emerging opportunities for a sustainable, long-term recovery, ” he said.

Lee said the pandemic and the US-China trade war had triggered a shift away from prioritising cost-cutting manufacturing and towards practices that ensure reliability, consistency and security of supply.

“This in turn has prompted corporations to diversify their geographical footprint, including to locations such as Penang, ” he said.

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