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Developing an EV manufacturing hub

Developing an EV manufacturing hub

24 Jul 2023

Malaysia’s strategic location in the AsiaPacific region and Asean means that it has the potential to be a major hub for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing and export. Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) CEO Datuk Wira Arham Abdul Rahman says the country has signed 16 free trade agreements (FTAs) with other nations, giving it access to a market of over four billion people.

“Malaysia’s FTAs with Asean offer up to 98% import duty exemptions on most products. This favourable trade environment makes Malaysia an attractive destination for EV manufacturers seeking to export their
products globally,” he explains.

In addition to being a signatory to these agreements, Arham says Malaysia possesses other strengths such as political stability, strong economic fundamentals, pro-business policies, an advanced ecosystem, a robust supporting industry and a talented workforce. These factors enhance the country’s attractiveness as a destination for foreign, local and start-up companies, particularly in high-tech and value-added industries, looking to optimise their operations in a dynamic market.

“Malaysia’s incentives, strategic locationand participation in trade agreements position the country as a promising hub for EV manufacturing and trade, while fostering a conducive business environment for
various industries,” Arham says.

Development of talent is another area to focus on, as the aftercare and handling of EVs are different from that of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Looking at the talent heat map, Malaysia definitely has a shortage of talent, and while it might take some time to upskill talent with ICE expertise, it is not difficult
to do so, says Azrul Reza Aziz, CEO of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics & loT Institute (MARii).

MARii is working with the Department of Skills Development under the Human Resources Ministry to develop the National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS) and Malaysian Skills Certificate or Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM) to include EVs as well as develop standardised educational modules
that can be used by industry players to upskill their workers. Azrul says industry players are being consulted as well so that talent gaps will be narrower

But one area that is often overlooked is educating first responders to address incidents involving EVs. Safety is a very important component of upskilling, says Azrul, especially when the vehicle is involved in an accident.

“Compared to ICE, EVs have batteries and [different parts of the car] will be conducting high-voltage electricity. First responders need to be equipped to handle road accidents on the highway if we want more EVs on the road.”

Shah Yang Razalli, deputy CEO and chief green mobility officer at clean energy company Gentari, says while the government’s policies are leading the country in the right direction, what is also important
now is a clear execution road map with more granular leading and lagging targets that are tracked to drive results.

“In order to drive sustained adoption and supporting infrastructure deployment, the road map needs to also be able to address how the policies can drive the increase of GDP, investment and economic growth via the creation of a local EV industry that will create jobs.”

Source: The Edge Malaysia