Malaysia set to lose more skilled workers to Singapore's tech sector, say Johor business leaders

Singapore wants to establish itself as a global hub for the tech sector, offering jobs in engineering, software development and finance. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Many Malaysian job seekers are expected to cross over to Singapore as the Republic moves to create up to 10,000 jobs in the technology sector within the next three years.

Singapore last month launched Digital Industry Singapore, which will spearhead the city state's plans to become a global hub for the industry, offering jobs in engineering, software development and finance.

Mr Teh Kee Sin, adviser to the SME Association of Johor South, said Singapore's plans would definitely attract Malaysians, especially Johoreans.

"We cannot do much to stop the brain drain in today's borderless world,'' he said.

Mr Teh said the global job landscape has shifted from traditional jobs to those in data analysis, science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and software development.

He said the favourable exchange rate is a major pull factor for many Malaysians seeking employment in the Republic.

Another reason, he said, was that the Sedenak Digital Valley in Iskandar Malaysia did not materialise as fast as planned and failed to attract many big IT players.

The Sedenak Digital Valley was introduced by the Iskandar Regional Development Authority last year as part of the Kulai-Sedenak 2025 Special Area Plan. Located in Sedenak, about 50 km north-east of Johor Baru City Centre and in the district of Kulai, it aims to become the leading digital hub in the region, attracting high capital and technology investments.

Johor Indian Business Organisation president P. Sivakumar said Malaysia and Johor, in particular, would soon face an acute shortage of skilled and talented workers as the region undergoes digital transformation.

"Johor's move to attract more high-technology companies to invest in the state needs the back-up of a highly technically skilled and competent workforce,'' he said.

Mr Sivakumar said it was more important than ever for employers to invest in training and retraining of their workforce as well as offer competitive salaries, flexible working hours and career development opportunities.

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