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Industry players poised for growth under National Semiconductor Strategy

Industry players poised for growth under National Semiconductor Strategy

03 Jun 2024

As the National Semiconductor Strategy (NSS) sets out to transform Malaysia into a global powerhouse in the semiconductor industry over the next decade, industry players are eager and ready to propel themselves upward.

Industry players, both local and international, believe there are tremendous business opportunities offered under the NSS that need to be exploited strategically rather than being left out.

Malaysian Semiconductor Industry Association (MSIA) president Datuk Seri Wong Siew Hai said the NSS will not only support and further boost the country’s value chain globally, it will also spur its advanced packaging, equipment and automation technology.

He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s NSS announcement at Semicon Southeast Asia 2024 on Tuesday demonstrated Malaysia’s seriousness in developing its semiconductor industry to greater heights.

“The fact that the government has allocated RM25 billion to support all NSS’ efforts is a real testimony that our country is very committed to the semiconductor industry and wants it to grow.

“The opportunity is huge, given this industry is projected to grow to U$1 trillion (RM4.71 trillion) (in revenue) by 2030 globally. There are even forecasts that it (the revenue) will go beyond that by the time it reaches 2050,” he told Bernama when met at Semicon Southeast Asia 2024, the largest congregation of supply chain companies in the semiconductor and electronics industry.

Therefore, Wong urged local players to seize all the advantages and opportunities resulting from the NSS.

Meanwhile, Daan de Cloe, managing director of foreign investments and international trade at Dutch public organisation Brabant Development Agency (BOM), said the announcement of NSS highlighted Malaysia’s strong ambition to grow further in the industry.

De Cloe said that Dutch semiconductor industry players possess ample knowledge and technologies and are ready to build an ecosystem together in Malaysia and contribute to its growth.

He noted that Malaysia’s semiconductor industry has grown significantly over the past few decades.

“It (the Malaysian semiconductor industry) has shown significant growth, and looking at the current ambition (through the NSS), it will continue to grow for the upcoming years.

“It will increase the attractiveness for foreign companies to come here and invest and share their knowledge about semiconductors,” he said.

De Cloe hoped Malaysia could produce more high-skill labour to fulfil its needs and requirements.

“We hope that we will get sufficient talents and also build the required skill labour that we need to establish the supply chain, the high technology supply chain that is required to build a complex machine,” he said.

Echoing de Cloe, Zilian (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd executive director Kon Qi Yau agreed with the government initiative to develop a global research and development (R&D) hub for semiconductors, featuring world-class universities, corporates, and centres of excellence and train and upskill 60,000 highly skilled Malaysian engineers.

“Previously, some people might think that in terms of R&D (the adoption) of new and advanced technology, Malaysia is slightly behind Singapore,” he said, adding that this perception can be overturned via this initiative.

Kon also hopes that this initiative will include students at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.

“We need skilled labour because, for the past 15 years, Malaysia has only focused on outsourced semiconductor assembly and testing.

“So when we want to go to the front-end wafer fabrication, we definitely need more technical people on the wafer fabrication side,” he elaborated.

Meanwhile, Invest Penang chief executive officer Datuk Loo Lee Lian said that when mapping Asian countries’ strengths across the semiconductor value chain, it is evident that Malaysia’s competitive advantages lie in integrated circuit (IC) design, advanced packaging, and equipment manufacturing.

“We applaud the NSS for accurately identifying these as the strategic verticals for Malaysia to build on.

“We need to be strategic with the targeted RM500 billion foreign direct investment to ensure it includes opportunities for local participation in the supply chain, equity, technology and intellectual property (IP) ownership and that the RM25 billion allocation in fiscal support will be directly used to spur local startup and entrepreneurship,” she said.

Loo added that the human resource vertical should take a holistic approach to addressing the current technical shortages and building a sustainable pipeline for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) talents.

Anwar, while unveiling the NSS last Tuesday, said that among the businesses Malaysia aimed to focus on in the NSS are IC design, advanced packaging and manufacturing equipment, and wafer fabrication.

NSS, which is described as a robust, agile, inclusive and forward-thinking strategy for the semiconductor industry, is structured in three phases to foster collaboration with companies across Asean, Asia, and the global stage.

Source: Bernama