AIMING HIGHER

Malaysia 2017 | AEROSPACE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi, Senior Director at the Sectoral Policy Division of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, on what initiatives are accompanying the Aerospace Blueprint and how the sector will help Malaysia become a sector leader in ASEAN and beyond.

Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi
BIOGRAPHY
Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi has experience in international trade, investment, and industry, spanning nearly 22 years of service with MITI, including a five-year stint in Brussels as Malaysia’s Minister Counselor to the European Community, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and another five years as Minister Counselor to Singapore. She was also Senior Director of Investment Policy and Trade Facilitation in MITI from 2014-2015. Prior to that, she started her civil service career in the ASEAN Economic Cooperation Division of the Ministry. She is an active trade negotiator and is currently Malaysia’s Chief Negotiator for the ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA. She holds a degree from Sheffield University, UK, and attended the High Potentials Leadership Program at Harvard Business School.

What is your vision for the newly launched Aerospace Blueprint initiative?

The new blueprint is essentially the second phase of the first blueprint from 1997. We set a target of total industry revenue of MYR55.2 billion and employment for 32,000 by 2030. We want to see where we can go with this sector as we see great interest from players in other sectors like automotive and electronics. In 2015, we recalibrated and reactivated the Malaysian Aerospace Council, which is chaired by the Minister of International Trade and Industry. Aerospace is an exciting industry and we want to engage the private sector, including SMEs and Malaysian companies like WZS Technologies, Jec Metal, and SDMK. We also have a new outfit, the National Aerospace Industry Coordinating Office (NAICO), which will go beyond investment promotion and policymaking and bring the industry closer to us. We are in a good position to facilitate the right environment to boost the aerospace industry.

What role do MITI and NAICO play in the establishment of the Asia Aerospace City (AAC) by MARA?

Organizations such as MARA have been in the industry for a long time; however, the ministry is in a unique position to be a coordinator. It is our role to interfere; we are here to facilitate business. We monitor developments and share this with investors who come to us. MARA has a great value proposition with its aerospace parks initiative the Asia Aerospace City (AAC). With regard to AAC, we were involved in the early development stage, proposing more high-quality investment from OEMs/tier-one companies to accelerate the development of the global supply chain. AAC aerospace parks in Subang and Serendah are under development; all with their own value proposition. It is our role to inform the relevant parties about these packages, and together with MIDA and SME Corp we will continue to promote foreign and domestic investments into AAC.

Do you coordinate with ministries from other countries in ASEAN that are also involved in the aerospace industry?

There is no ASEAN aerospace council yet, as the industry has not matured to that level. Singapore is the traditional regional player, and Malaysia is gaining more prominence. In due course, I expect it will become more regionally oriented. We want to be the most significant regional player. Our Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030 outlines how to capture 5% of the global market share while for manufacturing; we want to be the number one producer of parts and components in Southeast Asia. We want to be 70% self-reliant in system engineering, and for engineering services, we want to capture 3.5% of the global market share. Lastly, we want to become the number one supplier of skilled aerospace engineers in Southeast Asia. Malaysia has the infrastructure and the tailored aero parks, attractive incentive packages, the human capital, and the cost of doing business is low. The value proposition is there.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

Malaysia has the potential to be a strong and successful aerospace nation based on its track record in implementing the previous blueprint, and will embark on a more ambitious path towards 2030, upgrading to more high-tech activities. The ball is rolling, and it is our job to keep the necessary infrastructure up-to-date. With NAICO, we are able to bring the needs of the industry closer to policymakers, thus aligning interests. It is important that we add value across the board in every component of the industry. We want to change the attitude from technology-user to technology-supplier by significantly investing in industry-led R&D, and involving more local SMEs in this process. We will work closely with universities to supply the market with graduates who respond to the needs of the industry. The blueprint is a dynamic document and as we proceed, we will adjust our focus, but we are on the right path in moving this industry forward.