Selangor Journal
An electronics factory seen in Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya, on June 1, 2021. — Picture by BERNAMA

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

KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Malaysia sees a huge opportunity to be tapped in the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector amid the United States (US)-China tensions, said Tengku Datuk Seri 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 on Monday night.

According to Tengku Zafrul, the E&E sector is highly important to the country, with 56 per cent 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 to enhance our industry,” he said.

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

Giving chip maker 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.

“There are many Malaysians working as engineers (as an example), not only in Singapore but also 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 Tengku Zafrul.

— Bernama

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