GEORGE TOWN (June 26): Malaysia is on the right trajectory to secure more high-quality and capital-intensive projects, with the electrical and electronics (E&E) segment to continue being a key growth driver for the economy.
Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) chief executive officer Datuk Arham Abdul Rahman said Malaysia is the sixth largest exporter of semiconductors and integrated circuits (ICs) in the world, accounting for 6.3% of the world's total exports, and this will continue to support the E&E industry as it represents 61.7% of export products.
"Based on current negotiations with potential investors, many of which are multinational companies (MNCs), we are optimistic that the investment figure for 2022 will also be big, albeit not at last year's record level and that the E&E segment will continue to be the largest contributor of investment approved this year.
"The global shortage of semiconductor is expected to last until the end of December 2023 and consumer demand continues to be high. Therefore companies are looking to invest to ramp up their production to meet the demand," he told Bernama on the sidelines of the recently concluded SEMICON Southeast Asia 2022, which was held from June 21 to 23.
Arham said foreign investors' confidence continues to grow because Malaysia has one of the most comprehensive ecosystems in the region in the E&E, machinery and equipment, aerospace, automotive, and medical device industries, while the National Investment Aspirations will certainly pave the way towards attracting more quality investments.
He said MIDA foresees more foreign investors coming to Malaysia, following footsteps of the world's largest and most cutting-edge electronics companies, namely Intel, ST Microelectronics, Infineon, Micron, Texas Instruments, TF-AMD, and Osram.
The approved investments for the E&E industry were valued at RM18.6 billion in the first quarter of this year and a total of 13,700 job opportunities are expected to be created from these projects, while in the long run, the E&E industry is targeted to contribute RM120 billion to gross domestic product and generate RM495 billion in export earnings by 2025.
Meanwhile, Arham highlighted that there are two particular challenges faced by the E&E industry, namely shortage of skilled talent and land scarcity.
To address the talent issue, he said MIDA is working closely with local universities and training centres to meet the demand of both local and MNC players to establish more industrial training and learning programmes.
"Land scarcity is another challenge that we are working to overcome. Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has announced that the state government is currently identifying new areas to accommodate the needs of the industry and support the E&E ecosystem," he said.
On overall foreign direct investment, Arham said Malaysia attracted a total of RM42.8 billion approved investments in the manufacturing, service, and primary sectors involving 910 projects from January to March 2022.
Moving forward, MIDA had identified 446 high-profile investment prospects including Fortune 500 companies in the manufacturing and service sectors with a combined potential investment value of RM150.4 billion as of June 1, 2022.
"Malaysia's stellar performance despite the challenging years is a strong testament to Malaysia remaining as an attractive investment destination due to its cohesive business environment, friendly investor policies, and effective pandemic measures.
"MIDA will continue to introduce innovative measures to ease the challenges of operating businesses in the country while encouraging and facilitating the adoption and adaptation of technology, innovation, and research by companies," he added.