IEEE Region 10 Engages with Global Semiconductors Ad Hoc Committee, Malaysia Manufacturing Companies and Malaysia Education Institutes for Semiconductor Workforce Development. 

By Dr. Bernard Lim and Hazel Stoiber


Global Semiconductors: IEEE Resources and Communities for Those Working in the Semiconductor Industry

Silicon Malaysia

The IEEE Global Semiconductors Ad Hoc Committee formed under the IEEE Future Directions, chaired by IEEE President and CEO, Tom Coughlin, and IEEE Region 6 Director, Kathy Hayashi, since inception in August, 2023 has been actively reaching out to IEEE regions and members with the following objectives:

  • To inform members and industry with information related to global semiconductor initiatives and related programs.
  • To engage members and groups with opportunities to expand their reach with the initiatives and guide industry advancements.
  • To support overall involvement in the industry including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for industry professionals and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs for encouraging the future workforce.

Under Kathy’s direction and support from Tom to extend the effort globally, Dr. Bernard Lim, who is the current Chair of IEEE Region 10 Ad Hoc Committee on Industry Engagement and Round Table has become a member of Global Semiconductors Ad Hoc Committee.  Bernard is spearheading the collaborative efforts between IEEE Educational Activities (EA) and Malaysia education institutions to fortify the pipeline of skilled engineers tailored to meet the evolving demands of the semiconductor industry in Malaysia.

The semiconductor industry in Malaysia commenced in 1972 with the establishment of its first free trade zone, accompanied by attractive financial incentives to entice multinational firms to establish assembly plants.  At the time, the area of Bayan Lepas in Penang, well known as “Silicon Valley of the East”, was still a muddy field.  Advanced Micro Devices, Bosch, Clarion, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, National Semiconductor, Hitachi, and Litronix are among the initial eight companies to establish operations in Penang.  This esteemed group earned the legendary title of “The 8 Sumurai” among the Malaysians.

The Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test (OSAT) companies in Penang, Malaysia offer services in the assembly, packaging, and testing facilities for a wide spectrum of integrated circuits (ICs), including analog, digital, mixed-signal, SoC, and RF chips.  These services range from wafer testing to qualification testing and to the final production testing of packaged devices.   The OSAT market remains highly lucrative, with its Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) experiencing rapid growth driven by ongoing technological advancements in the semiconductor industry.  These advancements are essential to meet the increasing demands for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), cloud computing, communications, and other emerging technologies.  The passage of the US CHIPS and Science Act in 2022, aimed at alleviating the global chip shortage that affected over 169 industries from 2020 to 2023, has further fueled the growth of the chip industry.  According to the Financial Times, in 2023, Malaysia is the world’s sixth largest semiconductor exporter and holds 13 percent of the global semiconductor packaging, assembly, and testing market.