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New policies to make Kuala Lumpur more competitive

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will be introducing new policies to boost its competitiveness as it strives towards becoming a developed nation in 2024.

This will include policies to attract and retain talent, as well as a new policy to be launched next month to support industries and small-medium enterprises in embracing technology to boost productivity and competitiveness.

Datuk Isham Ishak, secretary-general of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), said the National Industry 4.0 policy framework is expected to be launched in early October by Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“This is about the government providing the policy support and incentives for those involved in the manufacturing sector, for SMEs especially, to embrace Industry 4.0 elements such as robotics, intelligence, data management and cyber security,” he said.

“We need to provide the necessary support for our companies to leapfrog in competitiveness as we are moving to become a developed nation, and as we are in a competitive region especially Asean,” he said at the InvestKL Merdeka Dinner 2018.

The Merdeka Dinner is an annual event to foster open dialogue, hosted by InvestKL which is a government investment promotion agency to attract large multinationals to establish their regional hubs in Kuala Lumpur.

Datuk Isham was speaking at a panel on ‘Making KL Greater’ with Minister of Territories, YB Khalid Samad and Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, YB Hannah Yeoh which was attended by close to 500 participants from the business community in Malaysia.

Datuk Isham said Malaysia’s neighbours in the region, in particular Thailand and Singapore, have long introduced policies to encourage the use of technology. As such, MITI has been working on the Malaysian blueprint for the last two years, with input from the many stakeholders.

“Malaysia does not want to be left behind. I am confident that we can leapfrog and become a developed nation by 2024, and create more quality jobs for our people,” he said.

He also said MITI was looking to reestablish Pemudah, the Special Taskforce to Facilitate Business, which had been highly effective in improving business processes and facilitating companies doing business in Malaysia.

“MITI is working to reestablish Pemudah committee, and we hope it will help us compete with other countries,” he said.

On the trade war between the US and China, Datuk Isham said MITI has set up a task force to monitor the opportunities that may arise for Malaysia. He said MITI has received a number of enquiries from multi-national companies from the US, China and other countries about relocating their facilities to Malaysia to take advantage of new opportunities in light of these developments.

“There have been many enquiries but nothing substantial yet as the full cycle of trade wars has not yet happened, it has just begun,” he said.

He encouraged foreign investors to leverage on the new thinking of Malaysia’s new government, saying that there was now a lot of excitement and support for investments to enter Malaysia.

YB Hannah Yeoh meanwhile stated Malaysia can become more competitive with the new determination to tackle corruption. She said this will remove hidden costs in doing business, allowing foreign companies to invest with confidence.

She added there will be new policies to attract and retain talent in the workplace, as there was now a higher number of enquiries received by Talent Corp from Malaysians abroad who were interested to return home.

Among the new policies to be implemented is a requirement for government departments to set up childcare facilities from January next year to attract more women to join the workforce, with this policy to be extended to the corporate sector at a later date.

YB Hannah Yeoh also stated that the younger generation needs to be equipped with more technical skills in order for the country to rely less on foreign talent.

Commenting on work-life balance for employees in Malaysia, she also advised companies to take mental health seriously. She recommended companies with high levels of stressed employees to invest in counsellors.

​Source: InvestKL