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From the Dean's Office

Assoc. Prof. Zainorin Mohamad
(Head of Campus / Dean)


Malaysian Marine Industries Perspective

Marine industries in this country had been established since the past many decades. The industries vary from boats, ships and offshore platforms design, construction, operation, maintenance, and repair to manufacturing of parts and equipments as well as in oil and gas exploration and production.

There are five (5) capital shipyards which could handle work scopes on construction, maintenance and repair of ships ranging from 300 up to 400,000 tonnes deadweight and eighteen (18) medium and small size shipyards handling the same work scopes for ships ranging from the smallest size of boats to the medium size of ships of up to 300 tonnes deadweight which are accounted for in Malaysia. These shipyards are linked to networks of vendors, suppliers and original manufactures of the associated materials, parts and equipments in the country and abroad which provide the integrated technical and the logistic supports to the industries. These shipyards take work orders from clients within the country and also from overseas. There are other numerous unaccounted small yards and traditional boat builders operating along many rivers and coastal towns in the West Peninsular and East Malaysia serving individual boat owners, fishermen and petty boat operators. General survey carried out shows that an average of up to 500 engineers and skilled technicians which are categorised as engineering professionals and semi professionals are employed by every capital shipyard. Each of the medium and small size shipyards employs an average of up to 50 engineers and skilled technicians. Therefore a rough figure of more than 4000 engineering professionals and semi professionals are employed in Malaysian shipyards.

Statistic figures obtained from the Malaysian Association of Ship Owners excluding government agencies show a fleet strength of 589 vessels owned by the members, with a total capacity of about 10 million tonnes deadweight and nearly 7 million gross tonnage. With an average of up to 10 competent engineers and engineering ratings employed per vessel, the total employment of professionals and semi professionals in seagoing ship operation by Malaysian ship owners is in the region of 6,000 employees. However, due to lack of interest by Malaysian general public despite attractive incentives offered by the government, almost 90% of the job opportunities in the seagoing ship operation of Malaysian ships are grabbed by foreign nationals.

It is estimated that about 5000 engineering professionals and semi professionals ashore (50% of the total employment in shipyards and ships operation) are involved in the networks of vendors, suppliers, manufacturers and original equipment manufactures which provide the integrated technical and the logistic supports to the marine industries in Malaysia.

A total of about 480 ships and boats of various sizes are owned by the various government agencies including the Royal Malaysian Navy, Marine Police, Fishery Department, Royal Custom and Excise, Port Authorities and the Maritime Enforcement Authority. With an average of 15 shipboard and shore support engineering personnel employed per ship, a total of more than 7000 engineering professionals and semi professionals are engaged in the employment by the various government agencies.

In all, from the above statistics a total of about 22,000 engineering professionals and semi professional are currently employed in the marine and the related industries in Malaysia excluding in the oil and gas exploration and production sector. Allowing for a pessimistic growth of 8% to 10% inclusive of vacancies created due to workforce retirement and migration to other industries in every five years ahead, a total of more than 2000 professionals and semi professionals are necessary to be produced to meet the demand of the marine and the related industries in Malaysia. However the actual demand in every five-year period ahead are expected to be more taking into account of those intending to become individual technical entrepreneurs, taking employment overseas and meeting the demand in the oil and gas industries.

The Government of Malaysia seeks to strengthen the capacity and the capability of the shipbuilding and repair sector under the Third Industrial Master Plan (IMP3) from 2006 to 2020. This is necessary as to reduce the outflow of capital for the acquisition of marine transport products, especially ships. The push to the shipbuilding and repair sector is amongst the strategic thrusts for the long-term growth and viability of the marine transport sector. The estimated outflow of the capital for this sector increased by an annual rate of nearly 4% in the period from 1996 to 2005.

The country imported passenger ships, LNG ships, LPG ships, container ships, oil tankers, general cargo ships, barges and others. Many shipping companies also leased or chartered the various types of vessel from abroad as to cater the additional requirements to transport their commodities or goods out of and into the country.

How could in some ways UniKL support the country to achieve the goals to strengthen the capacity and the capability of the shipbuilding and repair sector under the IMP3? As an institution of higher learning, UniKL could play an important role in the generation of the competent human capital that would be required by the marine industry, particularly in the field of ship design and shipbuilding.

Malaysia is in dire need of professionals in the fields of relevant specialisation to cater the above industrial perspective. There is practically no shipyard or reputable consultant in this country which is fully capable in the entire development of ship design, be it for merchant or naval vessels. This is one of the major reasons of our shipbuilding industry lags behind China, Korea and Japan. The full capability and capacity in the ship design are necessary to be built up. The Malaysian shipyards seemed to be more comfortable engaging foreign ship design consultants than building own capability and capacity. Most Malaysian ship owners, prefer their vessels to be designed by foreign ship design consultants and constructed at shipyards overseas. The present limited capability and capacity in the fields of ship design and construction or shipbuilding needs to be enhanced as to ensure a long term sustainability and competitiveness. In order to support and materialise the national industrial perspective in the marine transport sector, sufficient number of professionals in the combined fields of specialisation (naval architecture and shipbuilding) and others are necessary to be produced. Also, in line with the vision of UniKL it is timely for the university to train and develop technical entrepreneurs in the combined specialization of Naval Architecture, Shipbuilding, Marine Engineering, Subsea Engineering and Marine Electrical and Electronics to be able to participate in the relevant activities of the marine industries.

In line with the marine industry needs, the programmes offered and introduced are aimed to generate professionals and semi-professionals in the respective areas. The sea transportation industry in Malaysia is ever expanding and the value reaches more than RM 1 trillion in the recent years. In addition, the national oil and gas industry is booming and contributes to the economic growth of the country substantially.

The programmes conducted emphasize on the development of knowledge and hands-on skills in various areas such as calculations, design, construction, operations, maintenance and repair. Students are actively involved in fundamental calculations and utilization of computer aided design software for the research and analysis of certain aspects such as resistances, propulsion, speed, stability, hydrodynamics, structural strength, design drawings and construction, electrical systems and other equipment onboard ships, offshore structure, subsea vehicles, sub-sea robots and their safety features that meet the requirements of international Maritime Organization, International Ship Classification Societies and other relevant statutory bodies.

The combination of programmes and fields of study offered will be able to produce strong professionals and semi-professionals to fulfill the human capital requirements for the need of the national and global marine-related industries.

UniKL MIMET has also planned to offer master and PhD degree programmes in the long term for other soft and hard skill programmes. Among other fields to be offered are ship maintenance, ship automation, hydrography, maritme operations, maritime law, marine welding technology, ship construction and engineering project management, integrated marine logistic support system, shipyard operation and management and others.