Past Events

Penang Economic Outlook 2021: A Risky New Normal

Date: 27 January 2021, Wednesday
Time: 10.00 am – 11.30 am

Venue: Webinar (Google Meet)

All economies in the world were badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Countries with prolonged lockdowns saw substantial negative effects on businesses, employment, education and income, leading to economic recessions. In 2021, the core challenge for Malaysia continues to be curbing the spread of the virus while sustaining economic growth.

Compared to other states in Malaysia, Penang’s economy is uniquely driven by both the manufacturing and services sectors. While technology industries have experienced a rapid recovery, tourism-related businesses such as hotels, retail trade (including small trades), food and beverage, travel and tour, etc. remain a challenge to revive back to pre-pandemic level. Pay cut and underemployment are commonly practised by business operators. Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with minimal digital technology usage in their business processes have suffered the biggest losses and uncertainties.

The questions to ponder over include the following: Will 2021 be a better year than 2020, or otherwise? Which industries will be affected by the continued spread of the coronavirus? What will the business landscape in 2021 be like if the virus continues to spread? What can we learn from the successes and failures in 2020 that can help to shape business strategies in 2021? How will the manufacturing industries perform this year? How will the tourism industry survive? Have there been new strategies undertaken by local MSMEs to digitalise their business processes? What are the challenges for Penang if cases continue to rise?


This programme aims to: –

  • discuss the impact of Covid-19 on Penang’s economy;
  • assess developments that will have impacts on Penang’s business environment and investment climate; and
  • generate public discourse among business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors on the economic outlook of Penang in particular as well as its future challenges and opportunities.

Tentative Programme

10.00am – Introduction and welcoming remarks by Moderator, Ms Yeong Pey Jung, Research Projects Advisor and Senior Analyst, Penang Institute
10.05am – Presentation by Penang Institute, Ms Ong Wooi Leng, Head of Socioeconomics and Statistics Programme
10.35am – Panel Discussion:
1. Mr Raj Kumar, Chairman, Malaysia Association of Hotels-Penang Chapter
2. Mr Yeoh Seng Hooi, National Secretary, Small and Medium Enterprise Association (SAMENTA)
3. Mr Matin Ng, Deputy CEO, UWC Berhad
11.05am – Q & A session
11.30 am – Adjournment

Download the summary of the webinar in a PDF document (including the slides used during Ms Ong Wooi Leng’s presentation) here.