GEORGE TOWN: The unavailability of industrial land measuring 10 acres and above in Seberang Perai has left Penang with no choice but to take the reclamation route in order to attract investment opportunities, a state executive councillor said.
Zairil Khir Johari said the current small plots, all measuring less than 10 acres, were not ideal for companies looking to spend billions in investments.
He was responding to claims that there was plenty of land in Seberang Perai and hence reclamation was not necessary.
He said most manufacturing plants required 20 to 30 acres and sometimes double that, and Penang had been forced to turn away some investment opportunities that would have been beneficial.
Zairil said that while the state government was looking to expand its land bank on the mainland for industrial purposes, the long-term goal of reclaiming land under the Penang South Reclamation project, now known as Penang South Islands, was the key.
He said in reality, there was no lopsided development between the island and the mainland with nine of the state’s industrial parks located in Seberang Perai.
“The PSI project is part of our long-term strategy to ensure we will be able to offer a world-class ESG-compliant (environmental, social, governance) smart industrial park in Penang that will be able to attract the biggest names in the industry.
“By doing so, we will be able to secure the future economic security of all Penangites,” the state infrastructure and transport committee chairman said in a statement.
Zairil said presently, the Batu Kawan Industrial Park, which is often used by detractors of the PSI as the reason the reclamation was not needed, did not have large plots of land.
He said there was less than 80ha of industrial land left in the park but all were small plots.
Penang Gerakan chief Oh Tong Keong had erroneously claimed in an interview recently that only 10 acres of land were available in Seberang Perai.
Penang plans to reclaim three islands measuring 4,500 acres on its southern waters, with one island primarily focused on industrial land as a natural expansion of the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone.