M’sia, Japan to aid SMEs in smart manufacturing

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By TMR

Malaysia and Japan are set to increase collaborations on smart manufacturing to assist Malaysian manufacturers, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in adopting smart manufacturing technologies.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming (picture) said such a collaboration is aimed at preparing Malaysian suppliers within the Japanese manufacturing ecosystem to embark on the adoption of Industry 4.0.

“The purpose of the collaboration on smart manufacturing is to promote learning from Japanese companies with respect to the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies through lean management.

“Three focus areas have been identified, namely competency development; retrofitting projects; and industry engagement through sharing sessions on use cases,” he said at the launch of the Malaysia-Japan Collaboration on Smart Manufacturing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Also present were Japan’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa and Sirim Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali.

Ong added that Sirim, a wholly owned company under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, will be working closely with experts from the Japanese industry to assist local SMEs.

“Sirim, through its smart manufacturing hub and innovation centre in Bukit Jalil, will work with local partners and Japanese technology solution providers on specific collaborative programmes to assist local companies in their Industry 4.0 journey,” he said.

Ong said the assistance will include data collection and visualisation through the Industrial Internet of Things, as well as digitalisation to process improvement and system integration.

“Local SMEs should take this opportunity to expedite their digital transformation and move forward to Industry 4.0. I would also like to urge large corporations to play an active role in developing their local vendors.

“To this end, the government is offering a double tax deduction on the expenses incurred by anchor companies in the vendor development programme,” he said.

Ong also said the collaboration for SMEs falls under the Look East Policy (LEP) 2.0 which focuses on various programmes including capacity and capability building; industry standards development; as well as technology innovation and commercialisation on smart technologies.

Other areas which have been identified for the collaboration programme are mechanical and engineering; medical devices; food and beverages; transportation (including aerospace and rail); electrical and electronic; chemical; as well as green and eco industries.

“This collaboration is in line with the LEP 2.0, which we believe will bring Malaysia tremendous benefits in terms of productivity and efficiency improvements,” Ong said.

Introduced in 1982 by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his first term as prime minister, the LEP 1.0 was aimed at promoting Japanese work ethics, enhancing knowledge and expertise in science and technology, as well as productivity through organisational management systems.

The policy has been instrumental in supporting the national industrialisation agenda through a steady stream of Japanese investors and companies in Malaysia.

Following the success of LEP 1.0, the scope of the policy will be diversified and expanded as the second wave in the LEP 2.0.

The policy will be revitalised to provide opportunities for Japan and Malaysia to strengthen bilateral engagements and promote further collaboration, especially in the areas under Industry 4.0.