LANGKAWI, March 26 — The aerospace industry here will keep growing courtesy of RM816.3 million in approved investments approved last year, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
The investments will fund 11 new aerospace investment projects in the country, he added.
“It is expected to generate more than 1,500 employment opportunities,” he said in his speech at the opening ceremony of the 15th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA’19) at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC) here.
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) will continue to play a critical role in attracting more aerospace investments here, the prime minister added.
This is in line with the government’s plans to make Malaysia a leading aerospace nation in South East Asia that was spelt out under the Malaysia Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030.
“As of today, 19 key initiatives of the Blueprint are being implemented by the National Aerospace Industry Coordinating Office,” he said.
The Malaysian aerospace industry also saw positive developments last year especially in aerospace manufacturing and MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) business.
“The industry secured RM14.4 billion revenue with 24,500 highly skilled workers serving the industry,” he said, adding that aerospace manufacturing still led the industry with 48 per cent market share while MRO accounted for 46 per cent.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia is known for the quality of its aerospace products made here by global industry leaders such as Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Safran, Honeywell and Thales.
The total export of aircraft, associated equipment and parts last year was RM8.48 billion, up 20.7 per cent from 2017, and reached destinations such as the US, the UK, Singapore, China and France.
“Some of these products are being showcased throughout LIMA`19 to highlight Malaysia’s capabilities in producing world class aerospace products,” he said.
He said LIMA`19 will serve as a platform for global players to search for local suppliers involved in the export of aerospace products.
Separately, he said a subset of the marine industry in Malaysia, Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SBSR), recorded exports of RM1.29 billion last year.
This is an increase of 20.3 per cent compared with 2017 and the industry currently employs over 15,000 people.
“Our main exports under this sector are ships, boats and floating structures which included among others light vessels, dredgers, floating docks and cargo ships,” he said.
He said these products are exported to destinations such as Thailand, Australia, Nigeria, the US and Indonesia.
LIMA`19 was also now 60 per cent defence and 40 per cent commercial. It was originally an expo catering to the defence sector.
The prime minister said the defence spending in Southeast Asia was set to exceed US$35 billion in 2018 while the growth of low-cost carriers in the region was also accelerating commercial procurements.
“The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are forecasting that by 2037, more than 4,200 new aircrafts valued at US$650 billion will be delivered to this region,” he said.
Malaysia allocated RM5.9 billion for the security sector that covers defence, public order and enforcement under Budget 2019.
The expenditure will include fitting the Malaysian Armed Forces with advanced armaments and technology to address modern security threats, the prime minister explained.
The Langkawi MP also said LIMA will aim to re-emphasise the contribution of the defence industry to the country’s socio-economic development.
“Events like LIMA should also remind everyone that the defence industry also answers to a higher calling, the national agenda,” he said.
LIMA’19 will host business delegations from 31 nations along with 390 defence and commercial companies.
A total of 195 international businesses will display their products and services over the five-day exhibition that expects around 42,000 trade visitors.