MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Malaysia sees window to strengthen E&E sector amid US-China tensions


Malaysia sees a huge opportunity to be tapped in the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector amid US-China tensions, said Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

The belief is supported by the diversion of investment flow into this region, the investment, trade and industry minister said, stressing that Malaysia must not squander the opportunities presented.

“I am confident as I can see that most of the investors are from the E&E sector, showing that the supply chain flow is coming to Southeast Asia, where Malaysia is among the countries that are already well-established in the industry,” he said on Bernama TV’s “Ruang Bicara” programme last night.

According to Zafrul, the E&E sector is highly important to the country, with 56 percent or RM85 billion of the total approved investment last year being in the manufacturing sector.

“This is one of the New Industrial Master Plan 2030 targets. The flourishing digital economy sector requires E&E products such as chips - semiconductors are needed by all.

“With the US-China geopolitical issue, Malaysia has a window of opportunity to strengthen the industry by attracting more investors,” he said.

Skilled workforce

From the government’s standpoint, he said, the challenge is in providing a skilled workforce.

Intel’s chip and assembly test manufacturing facility at Kulim Hi-Tech Park.

However, Zafrul said this challenge is not unique to Malaysia.

“In Malaysia, we have an abundance of talent. But following a large investment inflow, (skilled labour) has become an issue. So, for the short term, we will find a way to ensure we can accommodate the demand (for highly skilled talent) from foreign investors,” he added.

Citing chipmaker Intel as an example, the minister said the tech giant has given a commitment to invest RM30 billion over the next 10 years to expand its operations in Penang and Kedah, and the corporation requires at least two to three years to prepare.

“Hence they have collaborated with Universiti Sains Malaysia to develop highly skilled talent,” he said.

The additional investment is expected to create more than 4,000 job opportunities at Intel.

At the same time, he said, the relevant ministries are also working with public and private institutions of higher learning to entice Malaysian workers abroad to return home and serve in the country.

“Many Malaysians are working as engineers (as an example), not only in Singapore but also in the US and Europe.

“For the short term, I will be discussing with the higher education minister and human resources minister to find solutions,” said Zafrul.

- Bernama

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