Easier access at Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone

The Penang state government wants to provide easier access for suppliers and vendors doing business with multinational companies operating in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ).

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng announced yesterday the opening of the West Gate, which serves as an entry point to the FIZ's third phase, previously closed from 9am to noon.

The opening of the gate is expected to facilitate faster access to shipping points like the Penang International Airport and the mainland port as well as delivery during office hours.

The move was made in response to requests dating back for more than a decade from industrialists operating on the "Silicon Island".

Lim also said that alternative access through the FIZ Phase 3's Red Bridge was being addressed and that additional gantries would be completed soon.

"The Penang Island Municipal Council has promised that the Red Bridge will open to traffic by May 15," he said during a dialogue with some 50 representatives of the Free Industrial Zone Penang Companies' Association (Frepenca) at a hotel in Penang.

Also present were Deputy Chief Minister, Professor Dr P. Ramasamy, and the association's president, Datuk Mohd Sofi Osman.

It is learnt that the council will be spending RM47 million on the construction of two gantries.

"On the part of the state government, we shall strive to allay your concern over a few fundamental issues, such as public safety, by enhancing crime prevention and control, and social interaction, by promoting cross-cultural integration," Lim said.

Frepenca's membership comprises more than 60 companies which are mainly multinational corporations with a combined workforce of 100,000.

In his speech, Lim called on Frepenca members, which include some of the world's top technology brand names, to leverage on the positive business environment in Penang, which most of them have called home for over three decades.

"We know for a fact that most of the industry players, including Frepenca members, have chosen to set up their regional headquarters in Singapore and Hong Kong.

"Perhaps, I should take this opportunity to propose a change, so that you could go back and convince yourprincipal headquarters to relocate your regional headquarters to Penang," he added.

To further encourage multinationals in this direction, the state government will also seek to facilitate and streamline the entry application pro-cess for foreign skilled personnel who travel frequently to Malaysia.

While conceding that it was still early days for the new state government to be talking about overseas missions, Lim said that efforts to bring in fresh investments and reinvestments were on the cards,but would not entail lavish overseas junkets. - By Business Times

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