GEORGE TOWN: The Federal Government is providing RM100mil for 10 years for research and development activities undertaken by the newly launched Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology Centre (CREST) and the industries to accelerate the growth of the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry.
CREST, a component of the Economic Transformation Programme, was set up by the Government to serve as a platform for industry players, academics and the Government to collaborate and promote research, design and development activities in the E&E sector in Malaysia.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said that the E&E industry has been a key driver and leading contributor to Malaysia's industrial development in the last three decades.
“It contributes significantly to the gross domestic product (GDP) growth, export earnings, investment and employment.
“E&E is the single largest contributor of the manufacturing sector, and more than 40% of total exports as well as employs more than 5% of the total workforce,” he said in his speech during the launching of CREST at sains@USM in Bukit Jambul Saturday.
The concept of the centre, which was mooted in 2008, was established by Khazanah Nasional Bhd as the Centre of Engineering Excellence.
It was subsequently established as a company limited by guarantee on June 30, 2011 through the efforts of the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA).
The 11 companies and organisations that are CREST founder members are Agilent Technologies, Altera Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Avago Technologies, Intel, Motorola, National Instruments, Osram Opto Semiconductors (M) Sdn Bhd, Silterra Malaysia Sdn Bhd, NCIA and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
The nine companies account for RM25bil in total revenue and RM1.4bil in research and development expenditure, employing 500,000 workers.
CREST has approved RM3.2mil worth of grant for 10 research and development projects.
Malaysian Investment Development Authority chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin said that the E&E industry is a regular contributor to new investment and reinvestment in the country.
“I'm happy to note that of the 10 research and development projects that have been approved to receive grants from CREST, half of them come from local companies,” he said.
At the event, the FasTrack programme graduation ceremony was also held where 98 apprentices received their scrolls.
FasTrack is a 12-month apprenticeship programme targeting high-achieving Malaysian engineering graduates.