A blueprint for the shipbuilding and repair industry will be finalised by the end of next month, in an effort to boost the long-ignored industry to its maximum potential.
Almost 100 years old, the industry is at best seen as a sunset industry due to a lack of political will or concerted efforts to help stimulate the sector.
Despite the obstacles, the industry was worth RM7.36 billion last year, with Malaysia boasting 120 ship-builders and repairers, of which more than half were located in Sarawak.
With this in mind, Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (Might), as the champion of the Malaysian Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Industry Strategic Plan 2020, hopes to not only effect policy changes but also set out targets to boost the industry.
This is being done in collaboration with the Association Of Marine Industries Of Malaysia (Amim).
Its targets include growing the industry's contribution to RM19.9 billion in 2020, increasing shipbuilders and repairers' participation in the local market to 80 per cent from 50 per cent now, and increasing Malaysia's share of the global new vessel market up to 2 per cent from less than 1 per cent now.
"Today, we had the first round of discussions. The strategic plan was thought through by a good mix of industry players, like Amim, the academia and the government.
"The report is still a work in progress, but we believe 80 per cent of it is done ... now it's just a matter of getting feedback and seeing to any changes that need to be made," Might president and chief executive officer Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman said after the presentation of the plan to about 80 attendees here yesterday.
While the document is still up in the air, the strategic plan has outlined areas and issues that need to be addressed to achieve its targets for the sector.
The report calls for not only reform in policies but also the introduction of new technologies and processes to increase the capabilities of local players.
It also makes specific recommendations to attract and prepare industry workers.
Once the industry has its say in the document, it will be presented to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for endorsement and announced in December at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2011.