Malaysia–Germany Strategic Collaboration to Boost Trade, Investment and Accelerate Adoption of Industry 4.0

ECER’s ‘Asia Centre of Excellence for Smart Technologies’ jointly established to drive Industry 4.0 adoption and upskill local talents for ‘jobs of the future’

Bilateral trade and economic partnership between Malaysia and Germany continue to strengthen as both countries are collaborating to advance Industry 4.0 initiatives as well as investment efforts, thus paving the way for innovation and growth of the manufacturing industries in Malaysia and beyond. This strategy is also a part of the Government’s overall initiative to transition the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) and Malaysia as a whole, towards a productivity-driven economy.

“The Government is highly committed to embracing new opportunities through Industry 4.0. We want to see more smart manufacturing processes and technologies that will enhance production flexibility and efficiency, and radically transform value chains and business models, especially for our small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We are looking to build a stronger ecosystem centred on talent, skills, and innovation, which will help Malaysia “leapfrog in competitiveness”, as the country moves on to become a high-productivity, high-income nation. In this regard, with the manufacturing sector being the main economic backbone in the ECER, contributing around half of its total investments, the region will have an important role to lead the industries and Malaysia in embracing Industry 4.0,” said YB. Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry at the Malaysia – Bavaria Trade and Investment Cooperation and Soft Launch of ECER’s Asia Centre of Excellence for Smart Technologies (ACES) – Industry 4.0 today.

Also present at the event were His Excellency Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff, German Ambassador to Malaysia, YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, Chief Executive Officer of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), Mr. Bernhard Schutte Chairman of TAPiO Management Advisory as well as Mr. Hans-Jürgen Radmacher, Counsellor, Deputy Head of Division, Foreign Economic Relations, Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology, who led a delegation of investors and business leaders from the Free State of Bavaria, Germany.

Leveraging on the strong bilateral relations between Malaysia and Germany, efforts will be increased to boost investment, trade and technology transfer to ECER via stronger multi-pronged collaboration with Europe. In the effort to promote and attract investments from European countries into ECER, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) has also played an instrumental role.

Emphasis has been given on the advanced manufacturing and technology-intensive sectors in ECER’s thematic industrial parks, backed by the provision of quality talent pool via ACES. The effort by ECERDC and MIDA will complement MITI’s goal in attracting quality investments in ECER.

In conduction with the inbound Bavarian Delegation Trade and Investment Mission, the ACES soft launch was attended by H.E. Dr. Michael POSTL – Ambassador of Austria to Malaysia, H.E. Vanu Gopala Menon – High Commissioner of Singapore to Malaysia, H.E. Ambassador Krzysztof Debnicki – Ambassador of Poland to Malaysia, H.E. Eamon Hickey – Ambassador of Ireland to Malaysia, H.E. Kresco Glavac – Ambassador of Croatia to Malaysia, H.E. Rudolf Hykl – Ambassador of Czech Republic to Malaysia, H.E. Dag Anders Juhlin-Dannfelt – Ambassador of Sweden to Malaysia, H. E. Petri Juhani Puhakka – Ambassador of Finland to Malaysia, H.E Constantin Volodea Nistor – Ambassador of Romania to Malaysia, H.E. Gamal Abdelrehim Mohamed Metwally – Ambassador of Egypt to Malaysia, Mr. Cristoph Prommersberger Counsellor/Deputy Head of Mission of Netherlands to Malaysia, Mr. Werner Bardill Deputy Head of Mission of Switzerland to Malaysia, Mr. Rutch Soratana Deputy Head of Mission of Thailand to Malaysia, Mr. Pham Quocanh Commercial Counsellor of Vietnam to Malaysia and CEOs of top German and Malaysian companies such as Dato’ Soam Heng Choon – Managing Director of IJM, Professor Dato’ Dr. Mashitah Mohd Yusoff – Deputy Vice Chancellor from UMP, Mr. Indranil Lahiri – CEO of Siemens, Mr. S. Sivasuriyamoorthy – Executive director of MIDA, Mr. Gunther Beissel – CEO of MITEC, Mr. Rajesh KP – Regional Director of HSBC, Mr. Alvin Kong – Head of Global Markets of HSBC, Mr. Omar Mahmoud – Co-Head of Global Banking from HSBC and Mr. Michael Rainer – CFO of BMW.

MOU’s were exchanged with IJM, Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), Kuantan Port Consortium (KPC), Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) and SIEMENS to collaborate for Industry 4.0, smart technologies and digitalization in areas of cooperation and engage in human capital development activities in ECER and Malaysia as well as the South East Asia region.

Dr. Ong also witnessed the exchange of Memoranda of Understanding between ACES and leading industry players in ECER, including IJM Corporation Berhad, MCKIP Sdn. Bhd., Kuantan Port Consortium and Siemens Malaysia, which will be supporting ACES’ initiatives to drive Industry 4.0 knowledge and practises within their organisations and various business segments, as well as local universities such as Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP).

Commenting about the joint initiative between the Malaysia and Germany, Dr. Ong added, “I am pleased with the collaboration between ECERDC and TUM International in setting up ACES. The centre, which serves as a neutral platform in connecting various government agencies, industry players and institution of higher learnings, certainly bodes well with our goals to enable the right ecosystem for industries to adopt Industry 4.0. At the same time, this initiative will equip the local talent pool in ECER with the resources to upgrade their skills and move up the value chain, learning from German’s industry-leading expertise and experience.”

“ACES which is located within the ECER Special Economic Zone (ECER SEZ), is expected to complement and accelerate the growth in the region to ensure that ECER is ready for Industry 4.0, and will also serve as the preferred Gateway to ASEAN and the Asia Pacific markets. As we continue to build ECER’s competencies and capabilities for Industry 4.0, we will be working together with our strategic partners including Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and Malaysia-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MGCC) to further attract investment with greater emphasis on higher value-add, technology-intensive industries. These efforts are part of our strategy to move ECER and Malaysia up the economic value chain from an input-based economy to a productivity-driven economy, as envisioned under the National Industry 4.0 Policy spearheaded by MITI,” said Datuk Seri Issace.

“The synergies between ECER and the Free State of Bavaria via ACES, backed by the strong Government support in Malaysia, will ultimately bring about positive developments for both regions. This includes spill-overs to the Malaysian economy with the upscaling of industries and creation of high-quality jobs for the locals, as well as growth opportunities for Bavarian investors particularly those from the advanced manufacturing sectors to leverage on ECER as an ideal destination,” said Mr. Daniel A. Gottschald, Managing Director of TUM International GMBH (TUMInt). TUMInt is a subsidiary of the Technical University of Munich (Technische Universität München, TUM), Germany’s top-ranking university based on the “QS World University Ranking”.

“Collectively for IJM, MCKIP and Kuantan Port, today’s landmark partnership will pave the way for greater opportunities for us to drive and implement Industry 4.0, smart technologies and digitalisation in the ECER where MCKIP and Kuantan Port are located. We are delighted to partner with ACES to accelerate the adoption of new technologies and applications that will create industry-wide progress as well as facilitate human capital development and readiness for Industry 4.0. With our diversified business interests in construction, property development, infrastructure and industrial products, we want to take full advantage of these new initiatives to drive higher efficiency and productivity in our operations, to not only gain a competitive edge, but to future proof ourselves,” said YBhg. Dato’ Soam Heng Choon, CEO and Managing Director of IJM Corporation Berhad, who was also present at the event.

Earlier, MITI together with MGCC, MIDA, and ECERDC have collaborated to host a business networking session to connect local investors and entrepreneurs with the delegates from Bavaria, Germany to attract high-value added and technology-intensive investments into Malaysia. The event was also to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and insights on innovation and digitalisation, especially in the advanced manufacturing sector.