Saturday July 21, 2012
Mustapa: Import-export gap in M&E industry to be addressed soon
KUALA LUMPUR: The Government and machinery and equipment (M&E) industry associations will work together to reduce the big gap between the industry’s exports and imports to produce more products.
“The M&E industry representatives met us today (yesterday) and they will be coming forward with strategies on ways to reduce the gap,” said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
“Malaysia is still very much dependent on imports, and we will continue to buy more machinery due to lack of expertise and high technology,” he said, adding that the country needed to balance trade for the sustainability of the M&E industry.
He said the associations would meet Miti with the proposed strategies in the next few months.
Five M&E associations and Miti held the third session of this year’s Miti annual dialogue with industry associations on how the Government could help the industry remain competitive and attractive to foreign investors.
The local M&E industry, composed of 250 companies employing around 20,000 workers, can be divided into specialised machinery for specific industries such as power generating machinery, metal working and general industrial machinery.
With increasing competition from lower-cost producing countries, it is expected to move away from the manufacture of low-end and low-technology M&E, he said.
“As students are not exposed to opportunities available in this industry, the associations suggested that primary students visit factories at least once a week, to expose them to hands-on blue-collar job opportunities available in the M&E industry,” he said, adding that the Government would look into the suggestion.
Mustapa said it was imperative to change the mindset of students as skills shortage would affect the currently successful manufacturing industry in Malaysia if the issue was not addressed soon.
Among other issues brought up were the urgent need to address the “worrying’ skilled manpower shortage, tax, standards and cost of doing business, as well as foreign workers. — Bernama