Strengthen product technology to stay competitive, Malaysian firms told

Posted on 18 August 2016

Source: The Sun Daily

Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) deputy CEO Datuk Phang Ah Tong has urged Malaysian firms to strengthen their product technology in order to stay competitive.

“We’re good at manufacturing, but when it comes to product technology, we’re far laggging,” he said at a panel session on “Innovation as Driver for Local Economic Empowerment” organised by Brickfields Asia College together with The Business Year here yesterday.

“Don’t just look at the Malaysian market, we’re competing with the whole world,” he added.

Malaysia is ranked 35th in the Global Innovation Index 2016, but is at number four spot for producing technology, Phang said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) senior director of strategic planning division Wan Latiff Wan Musa said local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have to increase their contribution to the country’s total exports to avoid overdependency on multinational companies (MNCs).

“We need to diversify our exports to home-grown products, we require our own companies to come out with new products.” 

Wan Latiff said exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products account for more than 35% of Malaysia’s total exports, of which 90% are by multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in Malaysia.

The country is heavily dependent on MNCs for exports and needs to diversify, he added.

SMEs, meanwhile, contribute 17% to total exports and are targeted to achieve 23% by 2020.

“For SMEs, they need all sorts of support from the government to increase their innovation level. Our competitors are coming up very strongly, Thailand has overtaken Malaysia. Currently Malaysia is the 23rd largest exporter in the world, but we used to be 18th,” he noted.

Wan Latiff said Matrade is working closely with other ministries and agencies to make SMEs ready for the export market and to compete globally. 

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