Pentamaster Corp, established in 1991, is one of the few automated equipment manufacturers in the country that has grown to become global players.
It is a manufacturer of automated test, visual inspection, and material equipment handlers.
Located in the Bayan Lepas industrial estate, Pentamaster operates two multi-million ringgit manufacturing facilities that employ some 250 workers.
Some 70% of its products are sold to multinational corporations in the country, while the remainder is exported to the United States, Europe, China, and South-East Asia, according to chief executive officer Chuah Choon Bin.
Besides Pentamaster, there are about five or six automation companies capable of international competition. Most of these companies are here in Penang, he said.
Chuah said that with the ongoing relocation of multinational companies from Malaysia to China and other parts of the world, the automation companies had to eventually follow suit to offset the loss in revenue from the existing MNC customers.
The relocation from Malaysia to other countries will also increase unemployment rate, as the local semiconductor industry provides big employment opportunities for local technical workers and engineers. This category of manpower has had many years of experiences in handling semiconductor equipment processes and it would be a waste to the economy if they become jobless.
If the government subsidises our research and development (R&D) effort, we can then use our earnings fully to hire this category of workers to increase production as well as generate employment, he said.
According to Chuah, Pentamaster spends 10% of its annual after tax profit on R&D.