From left: Qaiyum, Sarimah, Snowdan, Abang Abdul Karim and Muliawadi with online participants at the closing ceremony of the event.

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The electrical & electronic (E&E) subsector in Sarawak needs to step up significantly to drive Malaysia through the Covid-19 crisis.

Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan noted that the E&E subsector is facing lack of manpower planning between industry and universities that led to shortage of engineers.

“Therefore, there is a need to strengthen collaboration between the industry, government and universities to ensure a steady supply of industry-ready engineers,” he said.

He mentioned that the E&E subsector contributed 5.6 percent to gross domestic product (GDP), extending its streak of consistent economic performance over the past five years.

“However, the productivity growth of this subsector is slowing and remained on a downward trajectory for several years, although positive at 3.4 percent and it is a cause for concern considering the subsector’s importance to our export economy.

“This is mainly due to shortage in highly skilled labour, a lack of design and development centres as well as limited access to new markets,” he said.

He said this when officiating at the closing ceremony of the Industry 4.0 (I4.0) Virtual Hackathon East Malaysia 2020 held at D-Virtual Park in Jalan Meranek here on Sunday (Oct 18).

Snowdan further said that to cope with the situation, E&E Productivity Nexus (EEPN) — established under Malaysia Productivity Blueprint (MPB), is chartered to improve productivity of the E&E sector.

“Four key strategies have been identified under the EEPN, namely, to enhance higher value-added activities, nurture talent development, create value towards the Industry 4.0 ecosystem and strengthen small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development,” he added.

He also commended the Virtual Hackathon programme which will provide opportunities for university students to be exposed to real issues that the industry is facing based on real case studies and shape the students’ skills in problem solving and project management.

This, he stressed, will indirectly nurture university students to become entrepreneurs via business matching between SMEs and students.

Amongst those present at the closing ceremony were Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) board of directors member Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Datuk Abang Openg; MPC Sarawak director Sarimah Misman; Serba Dinamik IT Solutions Sdn Bhd general manager (Operations Department) Abdul Qaiyum Alidin; and Serba Dinamik Sdn Bhd Kuching branch group manager Muliawadi Imran.