A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed today for the construction of a crystalline silicon solar cell manufacturing plant at the Senai Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) in the Iskandar Malaysia region.

It was between SHTP, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd, and Solexel (M) Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of California based Solexel Inc.

Witnessing the event, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said it would provide the extra impetus needed to boost the development of SHTP and Iskandar Malaysia. “I believe this is just the beginning of a great future that holds for SHTP. I am sure I will be witnessing more ceremonies in the near future once the project is taking shape and completed. “Strategically located in the southern state of Johor, no doubt, this project holds an advantage in terms of location and connectivity to the global market. “I have every confidence that Solexel‟s investment in SHTP will be hugely rewarding and profitable,” he said during the ceremony here today.

Also present were Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, Solexel Inc president and CEO Michael Wingert and SHTP CEO Datuk Ahmad Shukri Tajuddin.

Najib said Solexel's aggregate investment of RM2.8 billion for the next five years will provide 2,300 employment opportunities and generate much economic activities in Iskandar Malaysia. The solar cells project by Solexel is one of the technology sectors highly promoted by the government to encourage green and renewable energy industry in the country. “This will form the foundation for future green energy policy for the nation,” he said.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said Malaysia has made a firm commitment to embrace hitechnology, innovation, creativity and value-added activities as part of its strategy to transform itself into a knowledge-based economy and value-based society.“As part of the government initiatives to shift towards high-income economy and developed nation by the year 2020, the country needs a strong foundation in research, development and commercialisation activities. “As such, the development of Senai Hi-Tech Park augurs well with the government‟s long term blueprint to transform Malaysia to become a developed nation that revolved around technological innovations, creative industry and value-added activities,” he added.