KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 23): The Malaysian plastics industry exhibited resilience during the pandemic and has continued on a steady growth path.
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) said as of June 2022, 33 projects in the sector had been approved with accumulated investments of RM503.5 million.
Chief executive officer Datuk Arham Abdul Rahman said as the plastics industry continues to grow, it is important that companies, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), focus on innovation and raise productivity to compete and capture new opportunities.
“MIDA has proactively taken the initiative to ensure investors have access to the right infrastructure, proper facilities and skilled talent to cater to the requirements of businesses,” he said in his keynote address at a conference on government assistance at MIDA’s headquarters on Wednesday.
The conference, specifically for the plastics industry and attended by 100 participants, was co-organised with the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and aimed to provide insight into various government policies, facilitations, and assistance.
Arham noted that among the initiatives and assistance provided by MIDA to manufacturers of plastics products include the Smart Automation Grant Industry4WRD Intervention Fund, Automation Capital Allowance (ACA) and the Domestic Investment Coordination Platform (DICP).
“Malaysia is also committed to achieving net zero carbon by 2050 and for this, MIDA is working closely with MPMA to drive industry collaboration and understand the demand and supply of recycled plastics resources.
“Companies should look for practical ways to recover resources where possible and channel them back into production,” he said.
MPMA vice-president Datuk Noraini Soltan highlighted that the plastics industry continues to face tremendous challenges including a shortage of labour, an increase in cost arising from the increase in minimum wages and rising interest rates as well as a slump in overseas demand due to economic slowdown.
Moving forward, she said it is unavoidable for plastics manufacturers to shift towards high technology to reduce dependency on foreign workers and low skilled labour.
“The ability of the plastics industry to produce high quality products at competitive prices will strengthen our role as a supporting industry, and in turn attract more foreign direct investments.
“As investing in high technology and automation is a long-term process and given the fact that 90% of plastics companies are SMEs, continued assistance and support from the government in the form of grants, incentives and financing is crucial.
“This will enable more plastics companies to have sufficient resources to invest in advanced machinery and new product development for sustainable growth,” said Noraini.
The MIDA-MPMA conference featured speakers from MIDA, Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia, Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), United Overseas Bank Ltd and TalentCorp Malaysia.
On the conference, Noraini said the industry was very fortunate to have been able to learn from knowledgeable speakers on the various types of government assistance and facilitations.
“We hope that the participants would have obtained useful information which will assist employers to formulate strategies to make changes to your business models, and operations and move up the value chains via this conference,” she added.