KULIM: Malaysia has the potential to become a major production hub for medical devices, as well as play an important role in the product supply chain in the region and globally.

Senior Minister cum International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the sector could be further developed through research and development (RD), as well as collaboration of various parties, especially local industry players.

"Malaysia has pioneered and spearheaded as the largest producer of the global market for medical and surgical gloves and we have seen how Malaysia's role in the global supply chain of these products is important today.

"When COVID-19 occured, external demand increased and this provided an opportunity for local companies to increase their production and productivity," he told a press conference after officiating the SIRIM Bhd Medical Device Innovation Centre (MDIC) at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park here today.

Mohamed Azmin said today Malaysia has a strategic position and has a talented and skilled workforce to penetrate new markets in the medical device sector, especially in this pandemic situation.

However, he said product innovation needs to be enhanced by local industry players, especially among small and medium enterprises to compete globally by producing products that meet international standards.

He said hence, SIRIM, through the MDIC, has a significant role to play in enhancing the capacity of the local industry to explore new innovations in medical device products.

Meanwhile, he said last year the country's exports for the medical device sector reached RM30 billion, an increase of 24.9 per cent compared to 2019.