KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 — The Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry (Miti) is collaborating with various strategic ministries to increase the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students to ensure the New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP 2030) is a success.

The ministries are, namely, the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), the Ministry of Human Resource (MoHR) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti).

MITI Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said Malaysia needs long-term solutions to the dwindling students’ enrolment in STEM subjects, including improving their proficiency in English.

“But in terms of immediate implementable measures, I suggest that government-linked investment companies, government-linked companies and the Malaysian corporates perhaps focus on getting more students to be interested in STEM subjects and elevate their English proficiency through corporate social responsibility (CSR) or other related programmes,” he said in his speech at the Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit 2023, here today.

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Tengku Zafrul also said that apart from extending the Digital Nomad Pass to manufacturing workers, Miti is considering other short-term measures, such as allowing STEM graduates of any nationality to stay and work in the country for a defined duration.

He said without the right talent, Malaysia cannot attract the right investments, or support existing multinational corporations’ efforts to secure their supply chains which in turn, is crucial to support Malaysia’s manufacturing sector’s sustainability and inclusivity agendas.

On the supply chain, the companies must realise that supply chain security and resiliency are prerequisites to the manufacturing sector’s sustainability and inclusivity which could drive the swifter realisation of the NIMP 2030 targets.

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Hence, he said the government has supported the development of supply chain resiliency by ensuring energy security and developing a robust talent pipeline for Malaysia’s manufacturing sector to meet investors’ talent needs.

“In redesigning supply chains, both Covid-19 and the trade war have taught many MNCs that their key priority is not necessarily the ‘dollar and cents’, but the security of supply chain.

“To support energy security, the government has announced the National Energy Policy 2022-2040 and the New Energy Transition Roadmap,” said Tengku Zafrul.

He noted that TNB’s Green Lane Pathway supports the government’s goal and secures the energy needs of data centres, whose increased presence in Malaysia would help realise the nation’s master plan and objective to attract hi-tech investments.

In South-east Asia, Malaysia’s data centre market share is expected to increase by US$2.08 billion (US$1=RM4.67) from 2021 to 2026, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.72 per cent, said Tengku Zafrul.

On developing a robust talent pipeline for Malaysia’s manufacturing sector to meet investors’ talent needs, the minister said MNCs should redesign and secure their supply chains by pivoting to Asean.

“Here is an interesting fact, global foreign direct investment shrank by 12 per cent in 2022, but Asean FDI inflow was up by five per cent.

“Moving forward, we could capture more of this inflow by ensuring a robust supply of talent,” he said.

Meanwhile, the second key principle to support the NIMP 2030 is the rapid adoption of technology and digitisation in smart manufacturing to achieve the nation’s sustainable manufacturing goals.

“To that end, while NIMP 2030 has put forth the proposed public funding solution, we do expect the private sector to also support our manufacturing sector’s sustainable and transformative goals by providing green funding, whether in the form of loans, private debt or sukuk or equity,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul said Malaysia’s manufacturing sector’s ability to thrive in the future is closely linked to Malaysia’s ability to engineer successful collaborations across critical stakeholder groups.

This, he said, includes each sector’s core supply chain partners across various industries, complementary players and public sector stakeholders, including GLCs and GLICs.

“On that score, we are looking to catalyse new, smart public-private partnerships between GLICs and global investors, particularly in technologies that support sustainable manufacturing, and net zero supply chains,” Tengku Zafrul said. — Bernama