GEORGE TOWN, Feb 11 — Reinstating free port status to Penang Port will stimulate economic activities in diverse sectors in the state, says Penang Chinese Assembly Hall chairman Datuk Lam Wu Chong.
He said many sectors, particularly the tourism sector, would benefit immensely if the free port status was reinstated.
“Economic activities will flourish if Penang was granted the status. Penang will emerge as a shopping haven and a tourist paradise.
“I believe Penangites are looking forward for the reinstatement of the status,” he said at the Chinese New Year open house hosted by the assembly.
Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, his wife, Toh Puan Majimor Shariff, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng attended the open house.
Lam said the state economy needed injection of fresh economic elements to provide the impetus for a vibrant economy.
He said reports from professionals showed Penang’s economy, which relied heavily on the industrial sector, was losing the competitive edge and this has caused the economy to slow down.
Penang has been a free port since the colonial days until the status was revoked in 1969.
On another matter, Lam said Penangites supported the plan to introduce monorail service as the move would considerably ease traffic congestion which has become a major problem in the state.
“Traffic woes have become a major concern to Penangites. A permanent solution has to be found to this problem. This problem must be addressed soon.
“If we look at major cities around the world, the cities have adequate traffic systems, subways or underground train service to help ease traffic snarl,” he added.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had recently promised a monorail service for Penang if the Barisan Nasional (BN) was given the mandate to govern the state in the soon-to-be-held 13th general election.