Press Releases

Penang, a model of development in the Strait of Melaka

280912 | Simalungun, North Sumatera, Indonesia

The Penang Institute is honoured to be invited to present a paper at the National Seminar on North Sumatera’s Government-Industry Coalition organised by the Medan-based University of North Sumatera. The seminar, held from 27-28 September in the town of Pematang Siantar, Simalungun was attended by senior officials from the Indonesian central and provincial governments, mayors, business owners as well as academics including the respected economist, Professor Anwar Nasution, the first post-Suharto era Auditor-General of Indonesia.

Among others, the seminar aimed to forge greater collaboration between the key stakeholders to realise the Sei Mengkei Special Economic Area plan. The Special Economic Area comprises of over 2000 hectares of agriculture and forest land in Simalungun to be developed into a high-tech processing hub for the regions’s rich produce of raw materials, notably palm oil.

The Penang Institute’s delegation, led by Senior Executive Officer and local government councillor Steven Sim Chee Keong comprised of the recently appointed Fellow, Cambridge-trained Dr. Lim Kim Hwa, research analysts Che Afandy and Maxine Carr, and communication and event executive Syed Mikael. Dr. Lim presented a paper on the industrialisation of Penang sharing the experience of Penang’s economic transformation in the 70s from a trading hub to a modern industrialised state. He also outlined the path to future success of an economy like Penang especially in the context of the current reduction in purchasing power of the traditional consumer market in the West. Lim opined that further success is still possible through a combination of good governance, a continual promotion of Penang while  employing the right incentives, the creation of a network of infrastructure which are able to support industries of the new century, and finally to capitalise on the emergence of middle income household and positive demography in the ASEAN region.

This is the second official exchange between Penang Institute and the University of North Sumatera, the first time being the participation of the latter at the inaugural Conference of the ASEAN Coalition on Clean Governance in Penang last June. Both institutions hope to continue our collaboration especially in the area of economic research and discourses to benefit Penang and our sister city, Medan as well as the whole region on the two sides of the Melaka Strait.

Syed Mikael
Communication and Event Executive