INTERNATIONAL Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking has received underwhelming responses from local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under the National Policy on Industry 4.0 (Industry4WRD) for the sector.
His deputy, Dr Ong Kian Ming said the lack of responses signals a mounting challenge for the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to encourage Industry 4.0 or (IR4.0) adoption among SMEs nationwide.
“I don’t know how many of them have heard about this particular programme, but I think we still have some work to be done in order to spread the message out there,” he said at the Perdana Leadership Foundation CEO Forum 2019 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Ong added that only 300 firms have submitted their application to the programme, out of more than 50,000 SMEs in the country.
“The lack of submission shows the challenge in getting SMEs to play a more active role in terms of adopting IR4.0.”
Industry 4WRD was launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in October last year to facilitate companies to embrace enhanced technologies in a conducive and comprehensive manner.
Industry4WRD’s Readiness Assessment (RA) is a national programme that aims to assist SMEs’ migration of technological capabilities towards IR4.0.
Ong said the ministry will continue to expand the programme by increasing the awareness of IR4.0 adoption and entice more SMEs to embark on the technological transformation.
“We are planning to go to smaller cities in different states — Batu Pahat and Kluang in Johor, Taiping in Perak and some of the industrial estates in Selangor.
“Now, it is even more urgent for us to outreach in different ways so that the industry players can sign up for this,” he added.
Under the Industry4WRD initiative, the ministry will assist about 500 companies to carry out the RA programme through the Malaysia Productivity
The government announced an RM210 million allocation under Budget 2019 that would be utilised from this year until 2021 to support the migration of 500 SMEs to IR4.0.