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Malaysian govt urges chip industry to raise wages, talent investment

The government has called for the semiconductor industry to offer higher wages and invest in local talents to further strengthen Malaysia’s position in establishing a secured and dynamic supply chain.

Deputy Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Liew Chin Tong said while Malaysia has no shortage of talent, many of them are currently working in Singapore.

“The semiconductor industry is the most advanced industry in Malaysia, and therefore, the industry players should pay for skills and invest in talents.

“The government will work with firms to identify gaps in the talent pool and ensure the sufficient provision of high-quality talent at commensurate pay to grow the industry and the incomes of Malaysians.

“A virtuous cycle of higher wage, higher productivity and higher technological adoption will further strengthen Malaysia’s position in building a sticky, secured and dynamic supply chain,” he said in his closing speech at the Semicon Southeast Asia 2024.

Liew also echoed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s calls to train and upskill 60,000 high-skilled Malaysian engineers to steer the exponential growth of the semiconductor industry.

This, he said, not only demonstrated the Prime Minister’s vision for the future of the Malaysian semiconductor industry but has also pointed out a path for the future that doesn’t have to be bifurcated in the current geopolitical competition.

“Malaysia offers hope for a middle ground for geopolitics, and a fertile ground for the most important global industry of our time – the semiconductor industry – to grow healthily and in the most resilient and secure manner.

“Hence, we will actively look out for ways to strengthen the ecosystem further, which will include attracting investments in speciality chemicals and critical materials, as outlined in the New Industrial Master Plan 2030.”

On Tuesday, Anwar announced five key targets for the semiconductor industry under the National Semiconductor Strategy (NSS) which is spearheaded by the International, Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI).

The five key targets include attracting RM500 billion in investments for Phase 1 of the NSS; establishing at least 10 local companies in the design and advanced packaging with revenues between RM1 billion to RM4.7 billion and at least 100 semiconductor-related companies with revenues close to RM1 billion.

He added that other targets will also see Malaysia being developed as a global research and development (R&D) hub for semiconductors that feature world-class universities, corporate R&D and centres of excellence.

The government, he said, will also train and upskill 60,000 high-skilled Malaysian engineers and allocate at least RM25 billion in fiscal support to operationalise the NSS with targeted incentives. New Straits Times

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