Iskandar Malaysia-based technology park aims to lead Malaysia into an advanced future as it signs another new investment and production deal.

Johor’s Senai Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) would be a “key driver” for high value technology industries and Malaysia’s aim to transform itself into an advanced, innovative nation, says Prime Minister Najib Razak.

PM Najib spoke yesterday at a signing ceremony for SHTP and Solexel (M) Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of California-based solar cell manufacturer Solexel Inc. A new memorandum of understanding between the two will see an aggregate investment of RM2.8 billion (US$944 million) over the next five years, and create 2,300 jobs.

Senai HTP & Solexel signing ceremony

Solexel will manufacture crystalline silicone solar cells at a new 100-acre facility in SHTP’s Industrial Zone Phase 1, and is capable of producing one gigawatt of cells per year. The company will also conduct R&D operations and help create a local supply chain for chemicals used in solar photovoltaic (PV) cell and semiconductor manufacturing.

Senai Hi-Tech Park will be 1,000 acres total at completion, and is Malaysia’s second dedicated high technology zone after Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the country’s northwest. Kulim’s success at attracting international investment was the impetus for creating the SHTP project last year and the project’s developers are negotiating major deals with foreign investors.

Both parks aim to spur the local high-value economy and create employment for Malaysians in more advanced industries. Calling itself a ‘third-generation technology park’, SHTP is located next to the redeveloped Senai International Airport in Johor state’s Iskandar Malaysia special economic region, across the water from Singapore.