KUALA LUMPUR (March 29): The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) expects the country’s electrical and electronics (E&E) exports led by semiconductor devices and integrated circuits (ICs) to perform well this year, despite the ongoing pandemic challenges and the global risks of chip supply shortage.
“In years of accumulating experience serving multinational companies in Malaysia and abroad, Malaysian manufacturers will continue to serve as a manufacturing hub for the E&E sector in the region, to meet the demands from the global customers,” said Naim Abdul Rahman, the corporation’s director of E&E, ICT, machinery and equipment.
Malaysia’s E&E trade performance continued its upward momentum in January and February, with E&E exports rising by 19.6% year-on-year to US$20.18 billion during the period, Naim said in a webinar titled “Boosting Malaysian SME's Competitiveness on the Global Stage” organised by SEMI Southeast Asia and Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association on Tuesday (March 29).
In terms of major export products and markets, Naim said a similar trend is noticed whereby all top five export products recorded remarkable growth, while semiconductors remained as the largest E&E export products.
The top five export products for E&E include semiconductors and ICs; telecommunication equipment and parts; automatic data processing (ADP) machines; parts and accessories for office machines and ADP; and electrical machinery and apparatus.
By markets, Naim said Singapore was the largest, followed by the US, mainland China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.
“Matrade is always ready to connect Malaysian E&E companies with global customers and buyers wishing to outsource their E&E products and services for use back home or as support to their global operations,” he added.
SEMI Southeast Asia president Linda Tan told the webinar that the E&E industry is a key driver of Malaysia’s industrial development, contributing significantly to export earnings, investments and employment.
This, she said, stimulates the growth of new economic clusters, especially in relation to manufacturing related services such as testing and engineering.
“Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form a crucial part of this industry, but to continue leveraging on the growth of the E&E, which by nature is a global ecosystem, SMEs must grow their presence beyond Malaysia,” she said.
Malaysia Productivity Corporation director-general Datuk Abdul Latif Abu Seman said the government will prioritise incorporating advanced technology among SMEs under 12th Malaysia Plan, serving as a powerful gamechanger for the economy.
“It enables SMEs to transform, compete and penetrate global markets. SMEs will be equipped with the skills to digitalise their business process with automation, big data and artificial intelligence, in line with the National Fourth Industrial Revolution Policy and Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint,” he said.
Abdul Latif said SMEs require a larger pool of skilled talents equipped with the needed skill sets, which is vital in meeting the new competitive landscape.
“Clear and supportive policies, along with an optimum regulatory and business environment, are crucial to attracting more foreign direct investment that allows a higher degree of knowledge and technological diffusion between SMEs and larger firms,” he said.