GEORGE TOWN – ┬áJob losses in Penang caused by global industrial trends can be absorbed by new investments, expansions and openings in the state, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said there was a net gain in jobs available despite restructuring exercises and closures which affected operations globally.

He said some 20,000 jobs were still available in the manufacturing sector in Penang and the number may be higher if the tourism and services sectors were factored in.

“There are job losses, there are also jobs created and the net effect is a gain,” he said in a press conference today.

The investment climate in Penang was recently called into question after several technology companies decided to pull out from the state.

These included Rubicon Technology Inc, Seagate Technology Plc, Western Digital Corp and Intel where some 4,000 jobs are likely to be affected.

Lim hit back at critics and asked why the state was blamed when companies closed but the federal government was praised when investments entered.

“This is unfair and illogical,” he said, adding his administration worked closely with federal agencies to pull in investments.

Lim earlier attended the first year anniversary of solar power products manufacturer JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd operating in Penang and launched their expansion project.

The company is investing a further RM200 million to expand its manufacturing plant at the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ).

JA Solar president Xie Jian said the investment will increase capacity to 1 Gigawatt per annum and will also create 300 job opportunities for the local economy.

“Our total capital investment now is RM500 million,” he said in his speech.

In his speech, China Consul-General to Penang Wu Jun said there were huge opportunities for China enterprises to tap into in Malaysia.

He pointed out China has been the largest trading partner for Malaysia for seven years while Malaysia was the largest trading partner for China in Asean.

“In the first quarter of 2016, nearly US$400 million (RM1.6 billion) of investments from China to Malaysia were approved,” he added.

– Sundaily