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LETTER | High value manufacturing in M'sia deserves boost in 12MP

LETTER | I followed with great enthusiasm the unveiling of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) in the Dewan Rakyat last week.

Specifically, I was elated to learn that the government has now identified several high potential industries including aerospace, high-tech electrical and electronics, biomass, and smart farming as economic growth drivers in the next 10 years.

As a former business owner and manager within such high-value sectors, I welcome developments in these areas. In doing so, I believe that we must first begin by assessing what we already have so far before thinking of innovative ways to move forward.

The chief thing that has escaped media and policymaking attention is the UMW High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Park, which is located in Serendah, Selangor.

Designated in 2019, the 348-ha site is meant to offer the latest in Industry 4.0 enabled innovation and advanced manufacturing infrastructure.

Catalyst for growth

At its core, the HVM Park is expected to serve as an ecosystem enabler, which attracts foreign and local investments as well as connects multiple stakeholders to achieve synergy across key focus technologies for high-value manufacturing.

It is a purpose-built industrial facility which is envisioned to be a catalyst for growth in targeted technologies such as automation, advanced materials, advance metal forming, and others which cut across industries such as aerospace, medical, automotive, rail, logistics and other innovative advanced manufacturing businesses.

Currently, the park houses industrial complexes, several offices of government agencies and higher learning institutions that offer technical education in the fields of engineering, aerospace, and digital manufacturing.

According to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), the electrical and electronics industry which represents the backbone of manufacturing in the country recorded one of the largest foreign direct investments (FDI) inflow of RM134 billion or 74 percent of the nation’s total trade surplus of RM185 billion in 2020.

This is a crucial component of the HVM park which hosts multiple global electronics firms that provide jobs to thousands of regular Malaysians like you and me.

On top of that, given that the slated East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is expected to include the Serendah by-pass, this presents a unique opportunity to further augment the utility of this HVM park and connect it to a crucial arterial node of the country. Just imagine the possibilities that this would open.

On the one hand, we have a technologically intensive manufacturing base and on the other, we have the necessary logistical infrastructure to transport the manufactured products to other parts of the countries and national ports for export purposes.

This is what FDI dreams are made of!

I am exhilarated just imagining how a presentation of this capacity would simply sweep investors off their feet. This is an opportunity too lucrative and important to be side-lined.

We are now at the cusp of economic recovery in a post-Covid-19 world. Every action we take now will have a reverberating economic consequence in the years to come.

Promising high-tech park

However, I am reticent of the prevalent Malaysian culture of 'new is always better' and the tendency to want to reinvent the wheel when something great – or even better – is already there. As such, I am writing this also as a reminder to policymakers out there to consider what we already have in motion and to build up from this.

We already have a promising high-tech park capable of ground-breaking high-tech manufacturing.

We already have plans to connect the two hemispheres of the peninsula with a state-of-the-art rail transport system. We already have a forward-thinking agenda for development as is encapsulated in the 12MP.

What we need right now is the grit, determination, and the right attitude to merge these aspects into something beautiful and incredible for this nation.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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