KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — The role of the manufacturing sector must be strengthened against the backdrop of an increasingly protectionist and uncertain global trading landscape, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The government, she said, believed that there was still much room for expansion in the sector despite its many achievements so far, which included a significant value-added contribution of 22 per cent to the economy over the last decade. 

She noted that the government was prepared to encourage and provide the necessary support to investors in this key economic sector to effect a paradigm shift.

“We must move away from the current manufacturing ecosystem, which is highly dependent on labour and capital. 

“We urge manufacturers to shift towards knowledge-based, high-skilled, high technology and high value-added industries which also include new growth sectors,” she said in her speech at the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers’ (FMM) 51st annual dinner here today. 

This, she added, was in line with the objectives of Industry 4.0, which would support the achievements of the Shared Prosperity goals.  

Dr Wan Azizah also noted that investments in the manufacturing sector should aim to transform Malaysia from a “consumer nation” to a “producer nation”.

“As employers, the manufacturing business owners can achieve win-win outcomes through the re-skilling and up-skilling of their employees and by offering reasonable remuneration that will motivate and uplift their employees’ innovation,” she said.

Competency and good work attitudes should be rewarded and this would raise the employees’ standard of living, she noted, adding that the government understood the industry’s concern over the insufficient supply of a skilled workforce and poor work discipline, especially among youths. 

Dr Wan Azizah said efforts were being undertaken to upskill local graduates, with over 38 courses being withdrawn from the public universities as they were considered irrelevant for present conditions and could not meet the needs of the industries.

“I would like to appeal to all stakeholders to assist the government by continuing to provide their commitment to help make investments and economic growth more inclusive. 

“Besides that, I hope that all of you will provide a platform to our young graduates to work and progress together with your businesses,” she added. — Bernama