IPOH: With Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd’s (Proton) new plant in Tanjung Malim to be fully operational soon, Perak is set to be an attractive choice for foreign investors in the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry.
Establishing Proton as a core industrial player of the state will further boost Perak’s chances in attracting major E&E companies from countries like the United States, Germany and Japan to set up factories here.
International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said this is in line with the Government’s plan to address Perak’s need for more high-income jobs and retaining manpower.
Once the new Proton plant is fully operational, it is targeting to manufacture 400,000 cars by 2022, he said.
“With this manufacturing and production capacity, we could create 50,000 more jobs.
“Since the development of many car features is headed towards the electronic and electrical direction, hopefully this will attract more E&E companies into Perak to support our automotive industry,” he told a press conference here.
Ong said E&E topped the list of the country’s export products, raking in RM343bil in profits last year – a 19.2% growth compared to 2016.
“The demand for E&E products is very strong. It can be foreseen that in the next five to 10 years, E&E products will still dominate the market.
“When talking about creating high-income jobs, it is clear that Perak needs to make ample space for the E&E industry,” he said.
Based on recent findings by KTM Bhd, Ong said an average of 120,000 people travelled from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur daily for work using the Electric Train Service.
“This proves that Perak – especially Ipoh – with its affordable housing, is an ideal place to live in. But we are losing manpower to our neighbouring states because there are not enough job opportunities here,” he said.
Ong pointed out that currently, the state is facing strong competition from Penang and Selangor, as they are the top two states in the country with the most vibrant E&E industry.
“But these two states are already saturated and costs are extremely high there.
“If we could provide attractive incentives to our targeted industry players, we could get them to come in,” he said, adding that all of this would be possible with Proton being the catalyst.
Meanwhile, Ong said there has been a lot of “China bashing” among Malaysians recently, claiming that they are here to colonise the local market.
“People need to know that they have been our No. 1 trading partner as a single country since 2009.
“Back in the days as early as the 1980s, China has also been a major consumer of our agricultural products,” he said.
Today, Ong said E&E products top the list of Malaysia’s top five export products to China, and China accounted for 13.5% of Malaysia’s total exports.
“Without them, our country’s export income would be drastically affected,” he said.