Semiconductor cluster good for state

ERFURT, GERMANY: The development of a semiconductor cluster will accelerate the pace of industrialisation in Sarawak, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

He added that it would also affect the state’s economy.

The minister made the remarks after leading a delegation from Sarawak to a meeting with X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE here to discuss the development of a semiconductor cluster in the state.

Awang Tengah (fourth right) and Hans-Jurgen hold a semiconductor wafer while Naroden (third left) points to the location of X-FAB Sarawak Sdn Bhd on a map.

“The Silicon Valley in California, USA is the most obvious semiconductor cluster in the world.

“But in Europe, there are four key clusters around Leuven (Belgium), Dresden (Germany), Eindhoven (The Netherlands) and Grenoble (France).

“Between them, there are around 800 companies employing 150,000 skilled people. Wide range but
technical, with a real need for the STEM disciplines. The majority are skilled, highly paid technology jobs at graduate and postgraduate levels,” said Awang Tengah.

During the meeting, X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE pledged to support the Sarawak government’s aspiration to develop a semiconductor cluster in the state.

Currently, X-FAB has a manufacturing plant in Sama Jaya Free Industrial Zone, namely X-FAB Sarawak Sdn Bhd that employs more than 1,200 Sarawakians in the high-tech jobs.

X-FAB member of the Board of Directors Hans Jurgen Straub said he was very confident that X-FAB Sarawak Sdn Bhd was in a good position to nurture the development of a semiconductor cluster in Sarawak because the state had the right business ecosystem.

“Besides, there are many Sarawakian students studying in Germany in various fields of engineering. X-FAB is looking into the possibility to engage them as interns and later hire them.”

Also present during the meeting were X-FAB’s strategic projects chief Nobert Meyer VP, chief technical officer Dr Jens Kosch and fab operation manager Mario von Podewils.

The Sarawak delegation comprised International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Assistant Minister Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais, permanent secretary Datuk Liaw Soon Eng, and other senior officials, namely Kameri Affandi, Lester Matthew and Zukkarnain Rosli.