KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan wants Penang Institute to clarify its figures on Penang’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth rate, as it claims that the state had one of the slowest growths since 2008.
Its secretary-general Datuk Liang Teck Meng said he was pleased that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had brought Penang Institute chief executive officer and economics head Dr Lim Kim-Hwa into the picture to clarify the situation.
“As the head of Penang Institute, it is Kim-Hwa’s duty to answer the people of Penang,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Liang expressed hope that Kim-Hwa would be professional in clearing the doubts and posed 10 questions to him. Among the clarifications sought were the percentage growth of Penang’s per capita GDP from 2008 to 2015 and Penang’s status in the GDP ranking.
Liang said a July 19 Penang Institute article titled “Penang’s Economy: GDP Growth Rates and 2016 Projection” stated that one of the top reasons for Penang’s growth in 2015 was the ringgit’s depreciation against the US dollar.
“If that were true, why would DAP constantly criticise the depreciating ringgit?” asked Liang.
He also refuted Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim’s claim that Penang fared better than most states in terms of median salaries.
“He based his list on the 2015 Salaries and Wages Survey Report from the Statistics Department. This survey only began in 2014 and past data is not available for comparison,” said Liang.
He added that a better data source would be the Median Household Income Survey from the Statistics Department as it covered all income, including wages, investment income and transfers to a household.
“Based on this more complete data, Penang ranks fourth lowest in terms of household income growth from 2009 to 2014, while Selangor is third lowest,” he said.
Liang also took Sim to task for suggesting that the Federal Government did not allocate enough funds to Penang.
“Sim’s data is only allocations for operating expenditure and completely ignores federal government allocations for capital expenditure and also direct aid to the Penang citizens via BR1M, social welfare or subsidies,” he said.