Focus on high-tech sector in planned industrial area, Penang govt told

KEPALA BATAS: The Penang government has been advised to focus on the high-technology sector at a proposed industrial area at Jalan Tun Hamdan Sheikh Tahir here, and not just any “backyard industry”.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican (pic) said he had asked the state government for more information on its choice of industry, following public concerns that the construction of centralised labour quarters (CLQ) in the area could lead to an influx of unskilled foreign workers.

“We want an industry based on high technology because we do not want to depend on unskilled workers.

“Those workers are to be placed in the CLQ in the industrial area and it is easy to understand, (there will be an) influx of workers (from abroad),” he told reporters after launching the eSports Youth Cabin here on Saturday (June 11) night.

Reezal Merican said he was against the CLQ and had also made his stand known to the Penang City Council mayor and the project developer.

“The area (Jalan Tun Hamdan Sheikh Tahir) is an old residential settlement and traditional village, so it is very inappropriate (for the CLQ to be built there),” he added.

Reezal Merican said the ministry had its opinions on the kind of industry to be developed there and would not allow just any “backyard industry”.

He said the relevant parties should also carry out a social impact assessment first so that the goal of the project is understood and agreed to by residents in the area as well as the general public.

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Previously, residents from more than 10 housing estates near the project held a peaceful protest against the proposed construction of the CLQ in the area, which would result in the placement of thousands of foreign workers there.

They said the development should be moved to the Ara Kuda area in Tasek Gelugor, which is not too far away. – Bernama