PETALING JAYA, Nov 15 — The plastic products industry is one of the most vibrant industries in Malaysia’s manufacturing sector, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said today.
Citing the Department of Statistics Malaysia, he said the trade value of manufactured plastics grew by 3.4 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM19.76 billion in the first nine months of 2019.
From January to September 2019, exports of manufactured plastics also rose 3.6 per cent y-o-y to RM11.11 billion, he said.
Ong was speaking to reporters after officiating the 18th Term ASEAN Federation of Plastic Industries (AFPI) Conference (2018 – 2020) and 29th Asia Plastics Forum 2019 here, today.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Ong said that last year, 61 projects were approved with investments totalling RM1.86 billion, compared with RM714.2 million in 2017.
“Foreign investments made up almost two-thirds of total investments, or RM1.18 billion (63.4 per cent), while domestic direct investments contributed 36.6 per cent or RM682 million,” he said, adding that the investments had created 2,841 jobs.
While industry players are constantly pursuing higher profitability and economic robustness in the plastic industry, he said efforts must also be taken to explore environmental sustainability aspects and the move towards circular economy.
“In contrast to the linear economy of ‘take, make and dispose’, in a circular economy, the waste becomes a valuable resource, to be recycled as raw materials and made into new products.
“The benefits could be substantial; from lowering manufacturing costs by replacing virgin feedstock, reducing single-use plastics (SUPs) to reusable plastics, increasing job opportunities and ultimately a cleaner environment,” he said.
Ong said the government will ensure that Malaysia does not miss out on the huge potential in the circular economy.
“As such, Malaysia is now preparing to take the next step towards sustainability and is in the process of developing a Circular Economy Roadmap (CER) for plastics, including bottles, which will be launched by 2020,” he said.
Meanwhile, AFPI chairman and Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) president Datuk Lim Kok Boon said ASEAN’s plastic and plastic products sector was one of the top export sectors in the region, generating about US$50 billion (US$1= RM4.15) in exports revenue thus far.
“I wish to draw attention to the word ‘plastics pollution’, and not plastics as a product.
“It must be emphasised that plastic products do not pollute, it is the indiscriminate littering and poor waste management that result in plastic products being an environmental concern,” he added.