GEORGE TOWN: Penang needs 150,000 knowledge workers in the next five years to meet talent shortages, especially in the electrical and electronics industry.

Aside from engineers and technicians, knowledge workers in accounting, law and medicine will also be vital, said InvestPenang executive director Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon.

“There are many job opportunities for the highly-skilled at multinational companies (MNCs) and local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) based in Penang, even now.

“We need new people to come in and existing workers to be upskilled,” he told a press conference at the Penang Skills Development Centre in Bayan Lepas yesterday.

Lee said more high-end investments were coming into Penang, with approved manufacturing investments hitting a record high of RM76.2bil, a 440% year-on-year surge.

He added that Penang’s approved manufacturing investments last year also outpaced the cumulative investments from 2012 to 2020 (RM73.1bil).

According to data from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Lee said Penang’s investment inflows in 2021 of 111 projects created 12,024 job opportunities.

The catch, however, was that local supply chains and SMEs faced problems in hiring local talent, who were leaving for multinational companies.

“We must enhance the local ecosystem by training and attracting talent to support investors and multinational companies here.

“With the strong influx of strategic investments into Penang, a healthy talent pipeline is critical to meet the heightened industrial demand,” Lee added.

Aside from many approaches to draw knowledge workers to Penang, Lee said the state also launched the Penang Internship Subsidy Programme (PISP) on Feb 18.

“The programme offers qualified companies a monthly allowance subsidy of RM300 per intern recruited from outside Penang for six months.

“There are currently 111 internship placements awarded to nine local companies under the first batch of PISP.

“PISP aims to help local SMEs find local talent to join them. PISP is mainly for local SMEs to attract interns from other states,” he said.

Penang homegrown companies can apply for PISP online via The closing date is Dec 31.