US electrical and electronics firms invest RM42b in Malaysia

The slump in global semiconductor sales in 2019, down more than 13% on-year in the first half of 2019, has been the sharpest since 2009.

KUALA LUMPUR: About 24 electrical and electronics (E&E) companies from the United States have to date invested RM42bil in Malaysia, according to the 2018 survey of American investment in the E&E sector.

The survey, conducted by the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Amcham Malaysia) showed the investments encompassed foreign direct investments, job creation, knowledge transfer and support for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Its executive director, Siobhan M. Das said after many decades, the E&E sector remains a core focus of US investments in the country.

“Investments in this sector are not only strong and ongoing, but are also of high-value with important economic benefits for the country, beyond the immediate foreign direct investments and job creation,” she told reporters at a press conference here on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Amcham's Malaysian American Electronics Industry (MAEI), Datuk Wong Siew Hai said US companies in the sector are well integrated into the local economy in sourcing RM12bil worth of goods and services locally in 2017 alone.

“While our survey identifies 80,000 high-skilled jobs created by MAEI members, the actual number of people who derive livelihoods from our members' investments in Malaysia, is considerably higher,” he added.

According to Wong, currently 69% of the companies are using 4.0 connectivity with 73% intending to make more 4.0 investments.
Among the 24 companies that have a footprint in Malaysia are Agilent Technologies LDA Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Analog Devices Sdn Bhd, Benchmark Electronics (M) Sdn Bhd, Celestica Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Finisar Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, Siobhan said in realising the important role SMEs play in the Malaysian economy, the chamber of commerce would be conducting more and better engagements to support them, as well as in the transfer of knowledge.
“We want to build and strengthen the SME ecosystem here in support of the government's initiatives.
“The SME ecosystem is very important to investments that US companies make in Malaysia. I think this is evident in terms of the number of investments made over the last 50 years,” she said.
Asked about the trade war between the US and China and its impact on Malaysia, Siobhan said: “Out of uncertainty, you have risks, but also ways to gain opportunities. The question is whether we are smart enough to capture that and I 

think Malaysia has a lot of legs to be able to answer any demand made and coming its way.” - Bernama

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