Manufacturing in Malaysia: An Overview

Manufacture your way into a high-flying career in the engineering industry as Jaideep Patel gives a brief break down of the sector vitals.
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Manufacturing in Malaysia: An Overview

Manufacturing has played a vital role in the economic transformation in Malaysia.

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia ( a total of 1,028,301 persons are engaged in the local manufacturing sector, with an average monthly salary of RM3,122 paid per employee.

Some of the key sub-sectors within the manufacturing industry in Malaysia are:

  • petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products
  • food, beverages and tobacco 
  • electrical and electronic products.

To keep the Malaysian manufacturing on the right track, qualified engineers are needed. Among other roles, engineers working in the manufacturing business are responsible for the safe and efficient planning, management and maintenance of production methods and processes.

Typical Areas of Work

Research: this involves exploring new concepts or materials for products as well as making incremental improvements to existing products. Research engineers also try to find the next big thing that will give their organisation the edge in the market by introducing ideas for an improved product or through innovation of a new, advanced process.

Design: engineers design products with consideration of what the customer wants and the specialist processes needed to manufacture them. Increasingly, designers must consider the ‘whole life’ of the product and review how the product will be disposed of at the end of its life.

Development: the development process involves taking a product design or prototype and making it into a product that can be manufactured. Development engineers consider the scale of production (volume), availability of materials (and their cost), production safety, lead times, quality and overall cost.

Production: production engineers optimise manufacturing processes for safety and efficiency. It involves managing production teams, maintaining schedules, dealing with health, safety and environmental (SHE) hazards and troubleshooting production line issues.

Quality assurance: manufacturing organisations have strict quality controls and will adhere to a system. Engineers working in this area design and review quality systems, instruct and supervise staff as well as develop and carry out quality assurance tests on products. Engineers in manufacturing can also apply their skills in commercial roles such as marketing, supply chain, operations management, logistics, as well as sales and after-sales service.

Trends And Developments In The Malaysian Manufacturing Industry

The Malaysian manufacturing business is diverse but has shown long-standing dominance in rubber and palm oil processing as well as in pharmaceuticals, medical technology and electronics, among others.

Despite the plunge of the Ringgit – which is currently in its lowest against the US dollar – Malaysia still has a significant car manufacturing industry, complete with state-of-the-art manufacturing and assembly plants, including:

Plants: Tanjung Malim (Persona and Preve models) and Shah Alam (Inspira, Exora, Saga and Satria Neo models)
Plants: Pekan (Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Audi, Honda, Suzuki, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Tata)
Plant: Rawang (MyVi and Alza models)
Plant: Alor Gajah (City, Civic and CR-V models)
Nissan (under Tan Chong Motors)
Plants: Serendah (Grand Livina, Almera, Sylphy and Teana models) and Segambut (Serena model plus other SUVs)
Plant: Shah Alam (Vios, Camry and Innova models)
Plant: Shah Alam (S, V and XC models)
Land Rover, Mazda and BMW (under Inokom Corporation Sdn Bhd)
Plant: Kulim
Peugeot and Kia (under The Naza Group of Companies)
Plant: Shah Alam


Getting A Graduate Job In Manufacturing Engineering

The key engineering disciplines sought by manufacturing employers are:

  • mechanical
  • manufacturing
  • electrical
  • chemical/process
  • materials
  • control and instrumentation
  • environmental.

However, engineers from other backgrounds may well find good job opportunities in this sector.