Malaysia well-positioned to be Asia’s hub for medical device industry

by AUFA MARDHIAH / pic source Smith+Nephew’s Facebook

MULTINATIONAL medical equipment manufacturing company Smith+Nephew is supporting its orthopaedics business with the extension of its new high-technology manufacturing facility in Batu Kawan Industrial Park, Penang.

The new facility was recently officiated by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (centre) and witnessed by Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) CEO Datuk Arham Abdul Rahman (fourth from right) and Smith+Nephew CEO Dr Deepak Nath (fourth from left).

The 250,000 sq ft facility which is worth more than US$100 million (RM440 million) in investment will provide up to 800 job opportunities in manufacturing, engineering and supply chain.

Chow said that dubbed as the Silicon Valley of the East, Penang’s robust industrial ecosystem will not only enable the acceleration of breakthroughs in the electrical and electronics industry, but further entrenches its position as a medical devices hub in the region. 

“Particularly, Penang has the highest concentrations of medical technology (med-tech) companies in Malaysia and South-East Asia (SEA),” he said.

This facility will be the company’s first manufacturing venture in SEA. 

Arham said this demonstrates Malaysia’s ability in attracting renowned medical devices manufacturers into the country. 

“Smith+Nephew’s presence will also encourage growth of local companies and our medical device industry’s ecosystem, and strengthen our reputation as an ideal med-tech manufacturing hub in Asean,” he added.

Meanwhile, Nath said the new manufacturing facility represents the company’s commitment to customers in Malaysia and Asia Pacific.

“It is also a critical piece of our growth strategy, improving efficiency and resilience, and supports our purpose of ‘Life Unlimited’ so that patients across the region and beyond can return to living life to their fullest,” he added.

Additionally, Smith+Nephew achieved its goal of zero waste to landfill four years ahead of target.

In December 2021, it was recognised by the United Nations Global Compact Network for Malaysia and Brunei in the category of Sustainable Development Goal Benchmark 4: Zero Waste to Landfill and Incineration.

Smith+Nephew also provides scholarships to students from the Penang Skills Development Centre who will be employed and trained as technicians upon graduation.

Currently, Malaysia houses over 200 manufacturers, with over 30 medical device multinational companies producing high value-added medical devices.

The second and third tiers of medical device manufacturers for parts and components of medical devices have increased opportunities for local vendors to be integrated into the global supply chain of this industry.

In 2021, Mida approved 38 medical devices-related manufacturing projects worth RM7.68 billion, which are expected to create approximately 12,500 employment opportunities for the country.

The industry generates high-income jobs, increases export value and reinforces the domestic supply chain ecosystem.