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Friday, 14 July 2017

(The Star) Ong: Perak needs to build high-tech factories and diversify

IPOH: Perak needs to transform its industries in order to create better connectivity and retain manpower, says Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan (pic).

The International Trade and Industry Minister II said this needs to start with building high-technology factories of the Industry 4.0 generation in Tanjung Malim.

“There should be high-technology factories which are more digitalised and automated than its current conventional counterparts, as they will not need a lot of manpower.

“This means that operators can afford to pay their workers higher wages while completely cutting out human error in the manufacturing process.

“With development set to take place in Tanjung Malim to transform it into a major hub for the automotive industry, we hope it can pave the way for other industrial parks in Perak like in Ipoh, Kampar and Taiping to follow the Industry 4.0 revolution of factories,” he told reporters after attending a Hari Raya lunch and networking session with business operators here yesterday.

Having more of such factories throughout the state, Ong said, would lead to better modes of connectivity such as an international airport, port and railway system.

“This would then settle the long-standing chicken and egg problem not having better modes of connectivity without major industries and vice-versa.

“If we can start in Tanjung Malim and create more economic activities, it would justify our demands for such facilities in Perak,” he said.

Ong said it was high time Perak diversified instead of being content with producing raw materials.

“There’s nothing wrong with continuing the supply of raw materials, and we will encourage people to go on with their plantations.

“But Perak has potential beyond this. We have lots of land to usher in the era of Industry 4.0 factories, and the manpower and schools to train them.

“Which is why the state government should work on creating an ecosystem to facilitate the building of these high-technology factories here,” he said, adding that it would ultimately create high value jobs and keep Perakians in the state.