SIBU, 28 September 2016 – The shipbuilding/ship repair industry (SBSR) in Malaysia is a priority sector that generates high employment and income for the nation. Despite the gloomy global outlook and downturn in the shipping markets, the local industry players remain optimistic especially in the small and medium-sized vessels. The 4th National Marine Industries Forum (4NMIF) which was held in Sibu, Sarawak today presented and discussed these opportunities amid the challenging operating environment faced by the industry.
4NMIF was held in conjunction with Malaysia Marine Industry Expo 2016 (MIMEX) at Sibu Trade & Exhibition Centre on 27-29 September 2016. It was co-organized by Association of Marine Industries of Malaysia (AMIM), Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) and Malaysia Joint Branch Royal Institute of Naval Architects and Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (RINA-IMarEST) and the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), as a continuing engagement among the industry players and regulators vis-a-vis the previous editions of National Marine Industries Forum held in 2010, 2012 and 2014 in Kuala Lumpur.
This series of fora has emerged as a useful platform at both national and regional level for existing and new players and stakeholders in the marine industries to meet and discuss developments and issues of mutual interest and benefits. One of the most notable outcome of these fora was the launching of the Malaysia Shipbuilding / Ship Repair Strategic Plan 2020 (SBSR 2020) by YAB Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak in 2011, as a result of the inaugural 1NMIF held in 2010. The forum recommended the formulation a roadmap for the SBSR industry in Malaysia towards becoming a globally competitive SBSR nation, resulting in the SBSR 2020. Many of the recommendations in SBSR 2020 have been implemented including the new incentives for the industry that the Government implemented early 2016.
4NMIF brought together renowned foreign and local speakers to share their insights, ideas and strategies, aligned to the theme “Opportunities amid challenges”. The one-day session was officiated by YB Datuk Amar Haji Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Trade and Investment (MIETI) Sarawak, and participated by captains of the industry, senior Government officials and academia.
During his speech, YB Datuk Amar said “the choice of Sibu as the host of 4NMIF was an acknowledgement of Sibu’s position as the heartland of shipbuilding and ship repair in Sarawak and Malaysia, which houses the most number of shipyards compared to any other town or city in Malaysia. He added that his Ministry and the Sarawak state government were committed to continue promoting the development of the SBSR industry.
Also present were Datuk Haji Julaihi Haji Narawi, Junior Minister MIETI, Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ir. Ahmad Tajuddin Ali, FASc, Joint-Chairman of MIGHT; Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Ahmad Ramli Haji Mohd Nor, President of AMIM who is also Chairman of MIMA; and Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, President / Chief Executive Officer of MIGHT.
Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli reiterated that there were pockets of opportunities for industry players in niche markets. He said, “Those who could enhance efficiency and productivity, focusing on providing quality and deliver value-adding and cost competitive products and services would be able to capitalise on the opportunities in the industry and benefited the most when the market turnaround”.
“The Government has and will continue to promote and incentivize the SBSR industry. But it needs adapt to both market and technological changes, in order to increase its attractiveness to investors, companies, entrepreneurial talent and youth. We see opportunities for the youth in Sibu and elsewhere to join this industry which is expected to employ 50,000 people by the year 2020”, said Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ir. Ahmad Tajuddin Ali, Joint-Chairman of MIGHT.
Meanwhile, the President and Chief Executive Officer of MIGHT highlighted the importance of partnership and collaboration in ensuring the success of the SBSR industry, and the need to embrace the Fourth industrial revolution. He reiterated that MIGHT will continue to work closely with MITI, the Sarawak State Government and key agencies as the facilitator to develop a conducive ecosystem for the sustainable growth of the industry. He agreed that more need to be done; the tax incentive which was developed by MIGHT and approved by the Ministry of Finance and MITI has provided the needed catalyst for the industry.Datuk Dr Yusoff also proposed the review of the SBSR 2020 action plans, taking into account the inputs gathered from 4NMIF and to be presented to the SBSR community by mid-2017.
AMIM Honorary Secretary, Nazery Khalid testified on the success of the 4NMIF managed in providing a national platform for stakeholders in Malaysia’s marine industries to gather and discuss issues, development, concerns, opportunities and challenges in the industry. The participants gain from the ideas and insights that will certainly lead to the formulation of strategies, solutions and way forward to boost the growth and development of the marine industries.