GEORGE TOWN — Malaysia is falling behind in its Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) migration, with only 15 to 20 per cent of companies taking part.
Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) chief executive officer Muhamed Ali Hajah Mydin said the low figure could be attributed to lack of knowledge and proper channels to do so.
“We saw the prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) launching the IR4.0 blueprint last October.
“We saw a RM2 billion reserve (in last year’s budget) for the purpose, but people do not know how to access it.
“There is no structured information, for say if a company needs a RM1 million soft loan to upgrade.
“This is the reality, since October last year and now we are going to go for the next budget and we should expedite the move into IR4.0,” he said at a forum titled “Driving skills development for a future-ready workforce in Malaysia” here today.
Dr Mahathir launched the National Policy on Industry 4.0 last Oct to help companies, especially in the manufacturing industry, to migrate to IR 4.0 in a systematic and comprehensive manner.
However, an industry research firm, International Data Corporation (IDC), recently revealed that Malaysia’s future workforce was unprepared for IR 4.0.
Ali said 15 to 20 per cent of the Multimedia Super Corridor companies moving to IR4.0 were tier one companies, which were forced to adapt as they had no other option.
The rest, he said, were still waiting for instructions as they were unsure about what to do.
“They are waiting for instructions. I don’t know who will distribute the funds,” he added.
Messe Worldwide Sdn Bhd sales director Foong Lai Lyn attributed the confusion to the fact that many agencies were taking the lead.
She proposed that an agency be set up to handle IR4.0 issues, to make it easier to provide information on what to do, what subsidies companies qualify for, and, if necessary, “hand-holding” such companies.
Industry 4.0 Malaysia Association president Raja Teagarajan said only 90 out of the 500 companies targeted by the government had received help for migration to IR4.0.
“We have about 500,000 companies, which are mostly small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“We must find ways to expand the net,” he said.
SngEx Exhibitions Pte Ltd executive director James Boeyy said the same thing was taking place in the Asean region, where the small and medium enterprise sector was just beginning to adopt IR4.0.
He said it was important for the public and private sectors to support the ecosystem, for it to work.