status, Penang, under the leadership of its then chief minister, the late Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, managed to emerge as one of Asia's largest electronic manufacturing bases and became an economic powerhouse.
Penang also saw the setting up of the country's first free trade zone in Bayan Lepas, which welcomed some of the world's top names in technology, like Intel, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Hewlett-Packard (now Agilent Technologies), Clarion and Siemens (now Osram Opto Semiconductors).
However, investors in the hospitality sector have, in the past, indicated that the investment of an equal amount in tourism-related infrastructure in the duty-free island of Langkawi usually sees a quicker return on investment compared with a similar amount pumped into Penang.
Restoring the free port status would likely make Penang attractive again, said a source.
Free port status refers to all or most of foreign goods having duty-free access to a designated territory.