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New policies to make KL more competitive

Malaysia will unveil new policies as early as October to boost its competitiveness as it strives towards becoming a developed nation in 2024.

This will include policies to attract and retain talent, as well as a new policy to be launched next month to support industries and small-medium enterprises in embracing technology to boost productivity and competitiveness.

International Trade and Industry Minister (Miti) secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak said the National Industry 4.0 policy framework was expected to be launched in early October by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“This is about the government providing the policy support and incentives for those involved in the manufacturing sector, for SMEs especially, to embrace Industry 4.0 elements such as robotics, intelligence, data management and cyber security.

“We need to provide the necessary support for our companies to leapfrog in competitiveness as we are moving to become a developed nation, and as we are in a competitive region especially Asean,” Isham said at the InvestKL Merdeka Dinner 2018 on Tuesday.

The Merdeka Dinner is an annual event to foster open dialogue, hosted by InvestKL which is a government investment promotion agency to attract large multinationals to establish their regional hubs here.

Isham was speaking at a panel on “Making KL Greater” with Minister of Territories Khalid Samad and Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Hannah Yeoh, which was attended by close to 500 participants from the business community in Malaysia.

Isham said Malaysia’s neighbours in the region, in particular Thailand and Singapore, had long introduced policies to encourage the use of technology. As such, the ministry had been working on the Malaysian blueprint for the last two years, with input from the many stakeholders.

“Malaysia does not want to be left behind. I am confident that we can leapfrog and become a developed nation by 2024, and create more quality jobs for our people,” he said.

He also said the ministry was looking to reestablish Pemudah (the special taskforce to facilitate business), which had been highly effective in improving business processes and facilitating companies doing business in Malaysia.

“Miti is working to reestablish Pemudah committee, and we hope it will help us compete with other countries,” he added.

On the trade war between the US and China, Isham said the ministry had set up a task force to monitor the opportunities that may arise for Malaysia.

He added that it had received a number of enquiries from multi-national companies from the US, China and other countries about relocating their facilities to Malaysia to take advantage of new opportunities in light of these developments.

“There have been many enquiries but nothing substantial yet as the full cycle of trade wars has not yet happened, it has just begun,” he said.

He encouraged foreign investors to leverage on the new thinking of Malaysia’s new government, saying that there was now a lot of excitement and support for investments to enter Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Yeoh said Malaysia can become more competitive with the new determination to tackle corruption. This would remove hidden costs in doing business, allowing foreign companies to invest with confidence.

She added that there would be new policies to attract and retain talent in the workplace, as there was now a higher number of enquiries received by Talent Corp from Malaysians abroad who were interested to return home.

There will also be a new policy requiring government departments to set up childcare facilities from January next year to attract more women to join the workforce. This policy would be extended to the corporate sector at a later date.

  • New Straits Times