PENANG Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has expressed openness to supporting economic initiatives such as the creation of a special financial zone (SFZ) in the northern region.
However, he said, the federal government has yet to announce further details on the SFZ, even for Forest City in Johor.
“I have asked Penang Institute to study the SFZ, but there are no details yet on how it will be done,” he said in Butterworth today.
“Any new initiative for the economy will benefit the state, but it is under federal jurisdiction because it involves taxes and incentives.
“We will wait for further details from the federal government on the SFZ.”
On August 25, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said the government would establish an SFZ in Forest City, as well as introduce incentives, which include multiple entry visas, fast-track entry for those working from Singapore and a flat income tax rate of 15% for skilled workers.
Bagan MP and former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng then proposed that the federal government also create an SFZ in Penang, which focuses on the northern region, just like the one in Forest City, since the state is the country’s top manufacturing hub and contributed RM10 billion in taxes to the federal revenue recently.
Lim said Penang now has a critical mass with a mature manufacturing industry base, which will drive development and boost growth of the service sector, not only in the northern region but also the whole country.
Chow said in general, the SFZ could be in various forms, such as a free trade zone or a free commercial zone, which both exist in Penang.
Earlier, Chow and Lim launched the Penang Science Cluster@Bagan, a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) centre within the Penang STEM eco-system.
The centre offers technical and academic learning opportunities for students, school-leavers and adults. – Bernama, September 23, 2023.