Wednesday, October 20

Focus on education for skilled workforce, data protection framework

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MGCC) has urged the government to focus on education for skilled workforce, framework for data protection and infrastructure while bracing itself for the Industry 4.0.

Its executive officer, Daniel Bernbeck, said despite a series of tax incentives outlined under the 2018 Budget, education for skilled workers, especially on mechatronics programmes, remained important to move into the next step of the industrial development.

“Of course, the first thing is, you have to invest in the machines and all that, but you have to have the skilled workforce to work on the machines,” he told reporters on the sidelines of briefing of ‘iba 2018’, the trade fair of bakery and confectionery craft here yesterday.

The iba 2018 will be held in Munich, Germany from September 15 to 20, 2018.

On legal framework for data protection, Bernbeck said, the measure was the major concern for industry players as industry 4.0 was all about data and analytics.

“If you have different data standards, they are not safe. The data could be stolen and hacked … this is crazy,” he said.

He said infrastructure such as stable power supply and strong Internet were equally important for the country to gear up for the industrial revolution.

Meanwhile, Bernbeck lauded the principal hub tax incentive which would be extended until end-2020 from April 2018 under the 2018 Budget.

“The initiative would definitely encourage more German firms to relocate their headquarters to Malaysia.

“We see a trend where companies have moved their headquarters out from China to Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia’s capital due to the favourable working conditions,” he said.

However, he said, changes in regulations and economic policies remained the biggest challenge for the German small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which operated in Malaysia.

“For instance, we have foreign exchange administration rules and then adjusted and changed that could hamper the German SMEs business model,” he said.

Currently, Bernbeck said, there were about 500 German companies which invested directly from Germany in Malaysia, while another 300 were partnering with the local companies.

“Out of the 500 companies, about 300 are working regionally in Malaysia,” he said. — Bernama