Kuala Lumpur, May 24 – The plastics and plastic products industry is a dynamic and vibrant growth sector within the Malaysian manufacturing sector, said Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Minister of International Trade and Industry II.
Speaking at the opening of MPMA International Plastics Conference (MIPC) 2017, Ong noted that over the years, the plastics industry has been supporting the growth of related sectors as well as contributing to the emergence of new markets throughout the value chain.
“Given the encouraging trends in the plastics industry, companies here can seize the growing opportunities by improving its competitiveness in terms of product development, manufacturing processes and business models. With the established industry ecosystem in Malaysia, it would be beneficial for companies to leverage on Malaysia’s excellent competitive advantages and further develop their capabilities,” said the second Minister of International Trade and Industry.
The Malaysian Investments Development Authority (MIDA) and the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) has collaborated for the first time to bring together the, the eighth edition of the conference since it was first organised in 2002. The two-day conference was held at Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie.
On the collaboration with MIDA, MPMA’s Vice President Datuk Noraini S Talib said, “As MPMA and MIDA are both celebrating our 50th Anniversary this year, it is indeed befitting that we recognise the value of the public-private partnership in action by jointly organising this Conference. MIDA has been very supportive to the plastics and petrochemical industries since the early days.”
“Back in the 1980s, MIDA has been very successful in attracting many multinational companies to invest in the electrical and electronics (E&E) industries, and as of today, E&E is still one of the largest market segments for the Malaysian plastics industry. In recent years, MPMA and MIDA have been working closely on trade policy matters which have facilitated the growth of the plastics industry. This is indeed a very good example of how the public and private sectors can work hand in hand to jointly develop the industry.”
Noraini also highlighted that MPMA undertook a Skills Needs Research Study with MONASH University. “The purpose of this study was to undertake a thorough assessment of the current and future skills needs in the Malaysian plastics injection moulding industry and to explore options to improve the current process of skills training programmes. In summary, the Study has identified four challenges that hinder the Malaysian plastics industry in achieving innovation and global competitiveness as well as some recommendations, she elaborated.
MPMA’s secretary-genral Eddie Fong said, “This year’s MIPC carries the theme, ‘Navigating the Future of Plastics for the Next Decade’. The 8th MIPC will examine the challenges facing the Malaysian manufacturing sector and the plastics industry, and to brainstorm on feasible and appropriate strategies for growth in the next decade.”
“The main challenge of our business today is the shortage of workers, both skilled and semi-skilled. We fully support the Government’s policy to reduce the dependency on foreign labour. However, to reduce the dependency on labour we must have a long-term plan to enhance our skills, increase level of automation and adopt the appropriate technologies to achieve higher efficiency,” he added, while highlighting on the MPMA Plastics Technology Roadmap 2025.
Between 2013 and 2016, the plastics industry saw a total approved investments of RM4.5 billion in 186 projects. These investments have created 14,500 job opportunities.
With more than 1,300 companies in operation today, Malaysia is among the ASEAN region’s top exporter of plastics. In 2016, export of plastic products saw an increase of 1.24% to RM13.06 billion from RM12.90 billion in 2015. The growth momentum continued at RM3.5 billion in the first quarter of 2017. The primary export destinations include Europe, China, Singapore, Japan and Thailand.