Feb 23 (MSC Times) - Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not hold back when he slams the doomsayers and skeptics of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) initiative. He was speaking at the inauguration of Ericsson Mobile Communications Sdn Bhd’s new plant at Shah Alam.
He said that although Malaysians had proven their ability to successfully undertake mega projects, there are always media articles that belittle the government’s investments and ability to succeed. "Negative sentiments such as those expressed about the MSC were previously heard about the national car project, the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) and the capital control measures that saved Malaysia from the Asian economic crisis. All these projects have proven to be successful. Is there any reason to believe these nay sayers now, when they have been wrong in the past?" he asked.
He added that it takes time to build an entire city when referring to the recently published article in The Economist which labeled Cyberjaya a ghost town. He cited examples of the numerous large buildings and infrastructure that are being erected in Cyberjaya and the efforts to populate them.
Ericsson will invest RM100 million this year to expand the production capacity of its new plant in Shah Alam. Also present at the ceremony was president of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Kurt Hellström.
Ericsson is a full communications supplier for network operators and service providers, enterprises and consumers. With more than 100,000 employees in 140 countries, Ericsson is world leading in both mobile and fixed communications solutions.
Hellström said that Ericsson has invested over RM250 million in setting up and upgrading the production plant. Being the first mobile communications plant in South East Asia and Malaysia, the Shah Alam plant has produced over 4 million units since it began operations back in 1997. According to managing director Mats Lindskog, 95% of the production is exported.
The increasing demand for mobile terminals has led to the relocation of the original plant to a newer and larger premise in Bukit Jelutong. With the further expansion, it will enable Ericsson to boost its production capabilities to exceed the planned production. In line with this expansion program, the plant has employed over 1,200 employees, more than eight times its original number of 150 employees in 1997 and this is expected to increase to 2,000 employees by the end of the year.
With rising employment opportunities, Ericsson hopes to increase the pace of technology transfer to Malaysia with the research & development unit, the Malaysian Design Center which is a part of the global R&D activities in the design of new products. "Positioning the R&D unit in Malaysia is a strategic one; it allows us to be closer to the local and regional markets and assimilate and adapt to the requirements of the industry here," said Lindskog.
The Shah Alam plant in Malaysia has achieved several awards since its inception in 1997 such as the ISO 9002 and TeleTerminal Equipment Directive (TTE) awards which enable Ericsson to export its terminals globally.
Ericsson’s mobile phone production plant uses a high percentage of local content in its components. There are currently 25 local suppliers to the plant comprising small, medium and large organizations. The competency and competitiveness of the local supplier base is expected to enhance the local purchasing presently estimated at RM700 million. "The combination of good infrastructure, competent resources and support by the Malaysian authorities have helped us achieve and surpass all initial expectations," added Lindskog