Malaysia’s move into Industry 4.0 as well as the Internet of Things (IoT) technology is only possible because of the existence of its established electrical and electronics (E&E) sector, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

“Malaysia is now the world’s seventh largest exporter of E&E products with a total export of RM287.7 billion last year,” Mustapa said at the launch of IoT Malaysia today.

“In fact, IoT technology is made possible due to the established E&E sector in Malaysia. This sector serves to provide the intermediary products and components which enable the execution of industry 4.0 by leveraging on IoT technology in various sectors.”

He explained that the E&E sector had shown an upward trend in export for the past three years, thus making it the only industry that recorded a trade surplus for three consecutive years.

For the first eight months up to August, E&E exports amounted to RM220.56 billion, growing 21.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

“For the first half of this year, approved investments in the E&E industry recorded a total of RM5.8 billion in 47 projects. This will create additional 5,670 job opportunities,” said Mustapa.

He noted that last year, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) had approved a total of 107 E&E projects with investments of RM9.24 billion.

“Of these, RM1.29 billion was from domestic sources while RM7.94 billion was from foreign sources. These have created over 16,200 job opportunities for the country.”

Mustapa also spoke about a catalytic sub-sector that stood alongside E&E, which is the machinery and equipment (M&E).

The government has formulated the 3+2 strategy under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) which focuses on the development of three catalytic sub-sectors namely E&E, M&E; and two high potential growth sub-sectors namely aerospace and medical devices.

These targeted sub-sectors are envisioned to re-energise the manufacturing sector in the country.

“Malaysia’s M&E industry has grown significantly over the years. It contributed 4.6 per cent to the country’s total export of manufactured goods in the first eight months of 2017,” said Mustapa.

“With a healthy compound annual growth rate of 4.3 per cent, the M&E export is projected to reach RM43 billion in 2020.”

For the first half of 2016, approved investments for M&E were RM709.7 million, totalling into 37 projects and 1,606 job creation.

Last year, MIDA approved a total of 88 M&E projects with investments of RM1.54 billion. Of this, RM1 billion was from domestic investments while RM0.54 billion from foreign investments.