Lack of local talent, weak ringgit hampering New Industrial Master Plan


Free Malaysia Today
Tengku Zafrul Aziz says Malaysia is short of local talent in critical sectors such as technology and engineering as a result of higher-paying job opportunities abroad. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A shortage of local talent and a weak ringgit are among the challenges the government faces in implementing the New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030, says investment, trade and industry minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz.

In a written parliamentary reply, Tengku Zafrul also identified the rising costs associated with importing raw materials, and businesses’ reliance on imports as other challenges to implementing the NIMP 2030, which the government launched last September to transform Malaysia into a high-tech industrialised nation.

He said the increased costs of importing raw materials and goods, particularly for industries dependent on imported sources, directly impact production costs and potentially affect competitiveness in both local and international markets.

Businesses reliant on imported components and raw materials also face uncertainties in supply chains due to fluctuating costs, leading to disruptions in operational supply chains.

Hasni Mohammad (BN-Simpang Renggam) had asked him to outline the challenges Putrajaya faces in carrying out NIMP 2030, especially in terms of engagement and collaborative implementation with high-impact sectors such as electrical and electronics, chemicals, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals.

Tengku Zafrul noted that Malaysia’s shortage of local talent was especially acute in critical sectors such as technology and engineering, which he said was due to higher-paying job opportunities abroad.

He said the weaker ringgit may undermine foreign investor confidence in Malaysia’s economy, and consequently, affect opportunities for growth and development in local industries.

“The main challenges faced by industries in achieving the objectives and targets of NIMP 2030 generally involve increased operational costs due to the depreciation of the Malaysian currency, which directly impacts businesses and the industry as a whole,” he said.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim launched NIMP 2030 last September with four missions to drive the industrial transformation over the next seven years.

They are encouraging industries to innovate and produce more sophisticated products; embracing technology and digital transformation; pushing for net-zero emissions and safeguarding economic security; and inclusivity.

Anwar said these missions will be supported by four key enablers to overcome systemic and institutional challenges; addressing financing challenges, nurturing talent development and acquisition, improving the investor journey, and enhancing governance mechanisms.

NIMP 2030 also targets the creation of 3.3 million jobs and a median wage of RM4,510 for the manufacturing sector by 2030.

The projection of this median wage is based on the involvement of the manufacturing sector in high-value-added activities, productivity improvements, and opportunities for highly skilled employment. - FMT

Lack of local talent, weak ringgit hampering New Industrial Master Plan