From The Report: Malaysia 2012
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Malaysia has developed competitive industries in a number of key fields, from agriculture-based products like rubber and halal food, to petroleum and chemical products, to high-tech electrical and electronics manufacturing. The government’s strategy for turning Malaysia into a high-income economy includes shifting from low- to high-value production, emphasising sectors like bio-technology and pharmaceuticals that require more talent and R&D inputs. Along these lines, many firms are looking to upgrade their offerings, with medical device manufacturers moving from disposable rubber products to more high-tech equipment, and electronics manufacturers building their own tablets. Challenges for the sector include a new minimum wage introduced in 2012, although defenders of the policy say it will encourage a shift toward higher-value labour.
This chapter includes interviews with Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI); and Wong Lai Sum, CEO, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).