EXIM Bank partners with Smith to bolster Sarawak as healthcare hub

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SEDC chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain and EXIM Bank president and CEO Arshad Mohamed Ismail in a photo call with Smith and Exim Bank officials.

KUCHING (Oct 25): The Export-Import Bank of Malaysia (EXIM Bank) has partnered with the Sarawak Medical Innovation Technology Hub (Smith) to bolster Sarawak’s position as a healthcare hub in the region.

The medical hub, which features medical device manufacturing and technology commercialisation, is categorised into a few sectors namely: Manufacturing Medical Devices & Pharmaceuticals; Innovation – Healthcare R&D (patent and IP ownership); Education & Human Capital (Nursing & Long-term caretaker training telehealth); Digital Transformation – Healthcare Technologies; and Commercial, Agricultural & Agro-Commodities – Health Food & Beverages.

The first phase of Smith will involve the establishment of a medical glove manufacturing facility within the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Petchem Industrial Park, a 36-acre land situated about 10km from Bintulu Port in Tanjung Kidurong, Bintulu.

The glove manufacturing plant will unfold in two phases, namely: Phase I – 4 Production Lines (104 million pieces per month), and Phase II – 4 Production Lines (104 million pieces per month).

This will be the first medical glove manufacturing facility in East Malaysia.

According to a press statement, the location is poised to tap into the market share in this region with a healthcare-focused commercial network between Pan-Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East.

EXIM Bank president and chief executive officer (CEO) Arshad Ismail said the partnership was forged on confidence towards the Smith Project.

“The partnership between EXIM Bank and Smith is testament to our commitment to fostering innovation and progress in healthcare. Together, we provide the financial support and security needed to propel the future of medical technology, ensuring that innovation knows no bounds and unemployment is addressed,” he said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Smith CEO Robert Hardin said the support garnered from this partnership will bring growth to Sarawak and Malaysia as a whole, with more employment opportunities coming as the project progresses.

The project is expected to generate a substantial number of employment opportunities for Sarawakians, stimulating economic growth and lowering the unemployment rate in the state.

Previously, it was reported that the proposed Smith in Tanjung Kidurong will start with the manufacturing of medical products and equipment.

According to Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, Smith is a welcome investment for the state as the Covid-19 pandemic has made people aware of the significant need and demand of the healthcare system worldwide.