SMD Semiconductor, Germany’s X-Fab Global Services ink agreement to boost chip design in S’wak

Abang Johari (second row, third right) witnesses the FSA exchange between Shariman (front row, second left) and De Winter (front row, second right) while others look on at Wisma Bapa Malaysia on March 27, 2023.

KUCHING, March 27: Sarawak Microelectronics Design (SMD) Semiconductor Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarawak Research and Development Council (SRDC), has signed a framework service agreement (FSA) with Germany’s X-Fab Global Services at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.

The agreement was signed by SMD Semiconductor director Dr Peter Morin Nissom and chief executive officer (CEO) Shariman Jamil, while the other party was represented by X-FAB Group CEO Rudi de Winter and group chief technology officer Joerg Doblaski.

The FSA exchange ceremony was witnessed by the Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

According to a media release issued after the event, through the agreement, SMD will render chip design services to X-Fab to develop the latter’s latest silicon IP libraries for their advanced process technology node migration.

This activity also aligns with X-FAB’s expansion plan at the Samajaya facility in Kuching to increase their foundry output from 30,000 to 40,000 wafers per month by 2025.

In his speech, Abang Johari said the Sarawak government’s goals are to increase labour productivity growth, manufacturing contribution to the economy, innovation capacity, and high-skilled jobs by establishing a deep-tech semiconductor chip design house focused on designing and commercialising IC products in partnership with key players.

“The ongoing Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) project is one perfect example of why it is highly necessary for chip design technology operations to be running in Sarawak, as this would supplement the need for relying entirely on foreign expertise in the long run.

“Apart from this collaboration, I also welcome X-FAB Global Services (Germany) to partner with technical institutions and universities in Sarawak to shape new curriculums in semiconductors for undergraduates, postgraduates and industry certifications to enable our young graduates to acquire the necessary skills to become semiconductor experts.

“I hope these collaborations will also create opportunities for Sarawakian semiconductor professionals working overseas to return to Sarawak and contribute to our industry,” he said.

On Nov 9, Abang Johari also witnessed the FSA exchange between SMD Semiconductor and Belgium-based global supplier of microelectronic semiconductor solutions, Melexis NV, to design and manufacture high-demand chips in Sarawak.

Amongst those present were Minister for Education, Innovation and Talent Development Sarawak (MEITD) Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn who is also chairman of SMD Semiconductor; Deputy Minister for Education, Innovation and Talent Development I (Education and Innovation) Datuk Dr Annuar Rapaee; Sarawak Financial Secretary Dato Sri Dr Wan Lizozman Wan Omar; X-Fab Silicon Foundries chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr Hamid Bugo; and MEITD permanent secretary Azmi Bujang. — DayakDaily