KULAI: The industry sector should seriously consider going into automation to overcome the issue of labour shortage, especially with the nation depending heavily on foreign workforce, said Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
Talking to reporters after a work visit to an electronic factory in Indahpura Industrial park in Kulai today, he said, some sectors such as those in the furniture industry are badly hit by manpower shortage.
He said the direction for the industries is to move also towards having high skilled workforce with high pay.
"Malaysia is no more a labour intensive country, we want to create high quality jobs for our people," said Ahmad, adding that there are plans to make Johor into a robotic city following the recent visit by a team headed by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin to Shanghai.
On some industries having moved to Vietnam due to cheap labour and cost effectiveness, Ahmad said, that is one of the reason why he had suggested for industries to go automated so that they would be less dependent on workers.
He also pointed out that Johor has received the highest investment for consecutive four years since 2013.
"Johor will remain top again this year," he said, adding that last year, Malaysia attracted RM207.9 billion in total approved investment to fund 4,927 projects in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors which will create job opportunities for some 153,060 people.
The services sector recorded RM141.2 billion (67.9%), followed by manufacturing sector (RM58.5 billion) and primary sector (RM8.2 billion)
He said the domestic investment remained pivotal with RM148.9billion (71.6%) while foreign investment stood at RM59 billion.