News & Events

STEM Graduates Crucial For Supporting IR4.0 Workforce

IPOH: Malaysia urgently needs more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates to fill the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) workforce gap if the country wishes to remain competitive in the digitalisation era.

Speaking at the opening roadshow of the Platinum Business Awards (PBA) 2022 at a hotel in Ipoh on July 13, SME Association of Malaysia (SME Malaysia) secretary-general and awards organising chairman Chin Chee Seong revealed that many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their staff lacked an understanding of IR4.0 and why it was relevant to business transformation, despite existing government initiatives such as the Industry4WRD: National Policy on Industry 4.0.

He urged SMEs to re-invent their business by employing digital technology to develop new revenue channels and value added opportunities and be predisposed to hire a new pipeline of STEM talent, given that legacy systems and an unwillingness to adopt new processes had been identified as barriers to IR4.0 transformation in the workplace.

On the subject of industry manpower, Chin stated that SME Malaysia hoped the relevant authorities would simplify the foreign worker application process and expedite approvals to support industry workforce requirements since SME productivity and business recovery had been hampered by the persistent shortage of workers.

PBA2022 themed “Resilience. Globalisation. Digitalisation” is a local awards platform organised by SME Malaysia that benchmarks the business performance and quality standards of SMEs and individuals in 18 award categories by nomination and four categories by invitation.

Four new categories – SME Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Adoption Award, SME IR4.0 Adoption Award, SME Business Resilience Award and SME Sustainable Development Goals Excellence Award – have been introduced to highlight the growing relevance of ESG, sustainability and IR4.0 to SMEs. SME Perak president Jimmy Leong in his roadshow speech expressed full support for PBA2022 and encouraged Perak SMEs to submit their award nominations early.

Other nationwide roadshows featuring presentations by guest speakers and major event sponsors are scheduled on July 14 (Penang), July 25 (Sabah), July 26 (Sarawak), July 29 (Klang), Aug 1 (Seremban) and Aug 2 (Johor Bahru). Award nominees undergo an assessment process which includes auditor site visits, culminating in the selection of winners by a selection board chaired by KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific president Tan Sri Michael Yeoh, joined by other captains of industry.

PBA2022 is audited by SFAI Malaysia with Fusionex as technology partner, Skynet Worldwide as official courier and OE Edutech as official strategic partner. Major event sponsors are Hong Leong Bank, Boost Biz, Maxis and RHB Bank while co-sponsors are AmLeisure Group, Ipay 88, SBH and RAM.

PBA2022 is open for online nominations until Aug 31. Details are available at and through the awards secretariat at Tel: 03-8024 5787 (Cynthia).