‘State has to move up another level’

PENANG still needs the necessary know-how and skilled manpower to attract big data companies to set up their base here, said state trade, industry and entrepreneur development committee chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain.

“We have developed our skilled manpower over the years to a level adequate for the E&E industry.

“However, Industry 4.0 needs more sophisticated skills in the small and medium enterprises especially in services provided for big data companies.

“The 4.0 industrialisation will only be complete if such companies set up bases here, creating a regional hub to attract more foreign direct investment,” he said.

Abdul Halim was speaking at the opening of a new branch for professional services provider Cheng & Co and a workshop on Budget 2022 at Tech Dome at Komtar recently.

While Penang is still leading other states in attracting high-end technology and manufacturing companies, the state now has to move up to the next level, Abdul Halim said.

“We must be the base for design, research and development plus intellectual property rather than remaining as a manufacturing hub.

“I understand that it is not something that can be done overnight.

“We have started centres like the Penang Science Cluster and development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education.

“Now, there is a mismatch between the education curriculum in schools and in higher education institutions which are more academic-driven rather than skill and technology-based.”

Abdul Halim said this must change with more collaboration between education institutions and companies which are industry leaders, such as Fortune 500 companies.

“Only if such collaborations exist can there be a real synergy between the local educational institutions, local companies and high-end service provider entities,” he said.

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