MITI closely monitoring situation in Middle East for possible escalation in conflict

RAWANG — The Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) is closely monitoring reports on the Middle East conflict for a possible escalation in the region.

Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said so far, shipments through the Red Sea shipping route were “still quite calm at the moment.”

“Nevertheless, oil prices will be affected if the situation escalates because that route is the key route for oil exports,” he told reporters after officiating the construction commencement ceremony for MCE Holdings Bhd’s (MCE) new manufacturing facility, MCE Auto Hub, at Serendah High Value Manufacturing Park, Selangor.

At the time of writing, the benchmark Brent crude oil prices rose 0.31 per cent to US$87.38 per barrel while WTI crude increased 0.47 per cent to US$83.12 per barrel.

There are concerns that the escalation of the conflict between Iran and Israel could bring about instability in the Persian Gulf region and disrupt shipping routes, cutting supplies off between Europe and Asia, including Malaysia.

The MCE Auto Hub will be set up by MCE’s wholly-owned subsidiary Multi-Code Electronics Industries (M) Bhd and will commence the first phase of construction with an initial investment of RM50 million on 3.24 hectares of land. Multi-Code Electronics is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specialising in automotive electronics and mechatronics parts.

Earlier in his speech, Tengku Zafrul said the development of the MCE Auto Hub is a testament to the government and MITI’s strategic policy push toward fostering growth and innovation in Malaysia’s automotive sector.

“The development of the MCE Auto Hub will further contribute to the growth of the automotive ecosystem sector, which currently contributes around RM40 billion to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) while providing 700,000 jobs.

“This significant milestone marks the inception of a 10-year plan to strengthen MCE’s position in the automotive electronics space as the automotive industry increasingly transitions to the electronic vehicles (EV) era,” he added.

With MCE’s commitment to an overall investment between RM150 million to RM200 million in the next 10 years, the company is poised to stay ahead of the curve in technological advancements, Tengku Zafrul said.

“This new facility will also boost its production capabilities to meet the rising demand for more sophisticated electronic components and systems for both EVs and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

“It reflects Malaysian automotive players’ readiness –supported by strong policies – to adapt to evolving market needs while proactively innovating their products and processes to remain competitive globally,” he added.

Meanwhile, MCE group managing director Goh Kar Chun said the construction of the first phase of the new plant is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with operations slated to begin in 2025.

“The investment signifies our aim to lead in supplying automotive electronics and mechatronics parts in the region, capitalising on Malaysia’s advantage in its established electrical and electronics industry, enhancing our capacity in supplying sophisticated products that are designed, produced, and made in Malaysia.

“The strategic location of the UMW High Value Manufacturing Park offers significant logistical and cost benefits, allowing the group to be closer to some of its customers, partners, and suppliers,” he said. —BERNAMA