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Penang South Islands development aims to address talent shortage, boost high-tech industries

Penang South Islands development aims to address talent shortage, boost high-tech industries

Published by Buletin Mutiara • 26/6/2023

PENANG is Malaysia’s second smallest state but one of the most advanced and industrialised.


The state is taking steps to address its talent shortage and foster the growth of high-tech industries.


The Penang South Islands (PSI) development, located off the southern coast of Bayan Lepas, aims to provide a platform for job creation, talent retention, and nurturing in the state.


In a recent interview, Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy highlighted job mismatch in the manufacturing sector.

Dr Ramasamy

“With industries becoming more advanced each day, the focus is shifting towards nurturing local talent instead of relying on foreign labour,” he said.


The PSI project, featuring a 2,300-acre manmade island, aims to create a green and ESG-compliant smart city with new industrial parks, commercial and residential developments, and world-class tourism attractions.


Dubbed ‘Silicon Island’, the project proposes a 700-acre Green Tech Park, focusing on high-tech operations utilising technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

An artist’s impression of Silicon Island and its vicinity.

The park will also emphasise research and development (R&D) and other future-oriented technologies.


Dr Ramasamy, who is also the Human Resources, Education, Science and Technology Committee chairman, emphasised the importance of PSI for the state’s future growth as a smart city with high-tech industries and modern transportation.


He acknowledged that labour-intensive industries are not sustainable in the long run and stressed the need for new skills and talents.


“That is the reality for Penang. We cannot go back to labour-intensive industries because they are not sustainable in the future. We need new skills and talents.


“But we cannot produce them overnight, and we are also concerned that there are not enough students interested in studying science,” Dr Ramasamy said.


To address the lack of interest in science among students, the Penang government has collaborated with the private sector to create an environment that promotes STEM education.


The state government, in collaboration with private companies, has implemented various educational initiatives and vocational training programs to develop the necessary talent.


The Penang Skills Development Centre, Penang Science Cluster, Tech Dome Penang, Penang STEM, and other initiatives have been introduced to complement the education system and meet market needs.


The PSI development offers hope to the manufacturing sector by potentially reversing the brain drain problem and attracting local talents.


Professionals in the field believe that the Green Tech Park would provide job opportunities for the younger generation, reduce dependence on foreign expertise, and encourage talents to stay and work in Penang instead of seeking opportunities overseas.


Yong Adlina Mohd Ali Yeo, 38, a human resources staffer in Penang, expressed optimism that the Green Tech Park would create new opportunities, enhance job security, and attract foreign direct investment (FDI).


Dr Ryan Yang, a Penangite currently residing in the United Kingdom, welcomed the Green Tech Park, stating that it would cater to the industry ecosystem and researchrelated activities.

Dr Ryan Yang.

He expressed interest in returning to Penang if similar opportunities were available.


The Penang South Islands development represents a significant step forward in addressing the talent shortage and boosting high-tech industries in Penang.


With a focus on nurturing local talent and fostering innovation, Penang aims to position itself as a prominent hub for advanced technologies and sustainable growth in the region.

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