Malaysia is facing acute shortage of Chinese wireman as most are working in Singapore

JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia (Sin Chew Daily / ANN) - Malaysia faces acute shortage of Chinese wireman as most of them are working in Singapore due to the attractive exchange rates. 

Malaysia is facing acute shortage of Chinese wireman as many of them are working in Singapore.

Li Qi Wen, president of Johor Bahru Electrical and Electronics Association said many of them are experienced skilled workers but without SPM (secondary school) certificate and hence they do not have the permit issued by the National Energy Commission.

Li told the media at the 41st anniversary of the Johor Bahru Electrical and Electronics Association that the younger generation of Chinese are more inclined to pursue university degree to be an engineer instead of taking up vocational courses. Many Chinese youth who are equipped with technical skills prefer to work in Singapore due to the exchange rates. 

“Under such scenario we are forced to hire foreign workers on a long term basis and our dependency on them reach 70% to 80%,’’ he said. 
The association has more than 100 members comprising electrical contractors, cable suppliers, electrical control panel suppliers and others.

Li said another dilemma faced by the industry is the `all-in-one’ package of construction companies from China. Many of the electrical and cable products and technicians are brought into the country from China.

Some contractors import the wire, cable and control panel directly from China without the SIRIM certification issued by Malaysian authorities. These products are cheap in price and they do not meet safety standards. No insurance coverage for such products. 

“Local operators who comply with regulations shoulder higher cost and they are unable to compete with others in terms of price. Locals lose about 30% of business volume,’’ he said.

Li said the association hopes that the National Energy Commission would monitor electrical equipment strictly to check whether they are certified and meet safety standards required in Malaysia. He said the Customs Department of Malaysia should also be strict in checking these cases. 

Jimmy Puah, the International Trade, Investment and Utilities committee chairman of Johor said the prospect for electrical and electronics sector in Malaysia is promising as it recorded the largest export volume last year. In Johor, electrical and electronics sector rank second after oil and gas industry.

Puah said foreign investment in Johor reached RM24 billion (US$5.82 billion) last year where oil and gas industry is top on the list with RM11.834 billion (US$2.87 billion) of investment, followed by electrical and electronic sector with an investment volume of RM8.315 billion (US$2.018 billion)

Puah said Malaysia will gain from United States – China trade war as many factories are relocating from China to Malaysia. 

He said Johor will have the opportunity to be the investment hub in future due to the strategic location of Malaysia. Johor can offer a competitive platform for foreign investors to invest in the high-end electrical and electronics manufacturing centre.