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Mustapa Mohamed: Produce More Local STEM Talent To Strengthen The Manufacturing Sector

Petaling Jaya – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of Economy, Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, said the government is focusing on producing more local talents in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in addressing the challenges in Malaysia’s manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing is among the critical industries with potential integration into the global value chain. However, the manufacturing sector is still short of skilled talents, particularly scientists, technologists, and engineers.

“The Twelfth Plan aims to lay the foundation to position Malaysia as a high-income nation status by 2025. It is imperative that our nation is equipped with a highly skilled workforce that can meet the industry’s demand. As such, STEM enrolment remains the focus in Malaysia’s journey to become a developed nation.”, said Mustapa during PEMUDAH National Forum on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) themed “STEM Education: Key to Manufacturing Innovation” on 19 May 2022. The Forum was co-organised by the Special Taskforce to Facilitate Business (PEMUDAH), the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), and Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC).

Mustapa added, “The strength of Malaysia’s manufacturing industry is closely tied to our ability to churn out the top local talent in STEM related fields. Manufacturing is an important sector. It can potentially integrate Malaysia into the global value chain more significantly. This can be done by placing a stronger focus on design and development in the manufacturing activities.”

“New technical solutions are needed to promote advancement in the manufacturing industry. These innovations in technology, supply chain, and management will improve the productivity and quality of the manufacturing processes. The industry players must be proactive in utilising new technologies.”

“I must reiterate the importance of developing a workforce equipped with skills and knowledge in STEM related fields. Local talent in these areas is much needed to elevate the manufacturing sector and Malaysia’s economy as a whole.”, added Mustapa in his officiating speech.

The manufacturing industry remains Malaysia’s crucial economic sector, contributing the second highest to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Under the Twelfth Malaysia Plan, the manufacturing sector is positioned to expand at 5.7 per cent annually. Its various subsectors, such as Electrical and Electronics (E&E), Machinery and Equipment (M&E), and Chemicals and Chemical Products (C&C), will be uplifted into a higher value-added segment with more design and development (D&D) and front-end manufacturing activities.

Dato’ Abdul Latif bin Haji Abu Seman, Director General of Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC), said, “MPC is committed to facilitating the government’s agenda in building a robust STEM workforce. Talent is one of the vital productivity drivers. Strengthening the local talent means uplifting productivity growth. MPC will work with PEMUDAH in this area. Through the Productivity Nexus initiatives, MPC will form innovative collaborations with the industry players within the manufacturing sector to produce more STEM talent.”

PEMUDAH National STEM Forum featured the opening speech by Tan Sri Dato’ Soh Thian Lai, FMM President and panelists Ts. Zainab Ahmad, Director General, Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education (JPPKK), Ir. Dr Mas Sahidayana Mokhtar, Head, Universiti Malaya STEM Centre (UM STEM), Ir. Prof. Dr Norlida Buniyamin, President, The Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM), Dr David Lacey, Director, Advanced Development & Services, R&D, ams OSRAM, and Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, Chairman, Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE). Sayed Munawar Sayed Mustar moderated the forum.