Former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has proposed the establishment of a special financial zone in northern Penang, similar to the one in Forest City, Johor. Lim, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bagan, believes that Penang’s mature manufacturing industry base can drive development and stimulate growth in the service sector, benefiting not only the northern region but the entire country.
In a debate on the Mid-Term Review of the 12th Malaysia Plan in the Dewan Rakyat, Lim highlighted Penang’s significant contribution to federal revenue, with recent reports indicating RM10 billion in state tax contributions. Additionally, Kelantan and Pahang have seen numerous approved projects with substantial budgets, reflecting the need for balanced development across all states.
Lim also made several other proposals, including raising the minimum wage to at least RM2,000, reducing the corporate tax rate to 20% to achieve a median monthly wage of RM4,510 by 2030, and imposing a 15% tax rate on small and medium enterprises with an initial taxable profit of RM1 million.
Furthermore, Lim advocated for incentivizing industries to adopt sustainable practices that reduce resource waste and protect the environment. He suggested that businesses embracing such practices should receive additional tax incentives and a 5% lower corporate tax deduction. If the corporate tax rate is reduced to 20%, those engaged in sustainable practices in the secular economy should only be subject to a 15% tax rate, according to Lim’s proposals.