Advocating The Digital Future Of Malaysia

“The agency is excited about this initiative and offers its unequivocal support and commitment towards the success of MyDIGITAL and we recognise the efforts of the government to harmonise the various digital initiatives and plans into this blueprint,” Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation tells BusinessToday through an email interview.

Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) was recently launched by the Malaysian Government to enhance digital literacy and strengthen digital implementation across all industries and nationwide.

Shukri says the launching the blueprint is a positive action by Putrajaya to ride the rapidly growing global digital wave currently and it is very important for the country as a growing digital market in the region to remain competitive.

MDEC had been working together with the Government and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) on providing inputs on the blueprint since April last year.

The blueprint advocates for co-solutioning approaches with businesses and society to tackle economic, social and environmental challenges via people-private-public partnerships. The initiative will be carried out across three phases of implementation up to 2030 and will be delivered through six strategic thrusts, 22 strategies, 48 national initiatives and 28 sectoral initiatives.

“We [MDEC] are fully committed to rolling out key digital initiatives announced in Budget 2021 to ensure our society can fully leverage and benefit from 4IR technologies and establish Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN. MDEC is in full support of MyDIGITAL as it creates a technologically integrated society in line with Malaysia 5.0,” she says.

Shukri believes that with the focus areas under the blueprint, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups can quickly start and expand their digital adoption journey. All six thrusts, she says, are laser-focused on providing all the support the ecosystem needs.

“As the Government takes lead on digital transformation for the public sector, it is critical that the next -gen infrastructure and capabilities are in place. This also include meeting the explosive demands for digitally-skilled talents.”

“With JENDELA and other efforts to develop and deploy these next-gen tech infrastructures, businesses and the general public can go online and stay connected with high-speed broadband consistency,” Shukri says.

MDEC is also set to provide further support and advocacy for the Public-Private Partnership model and looks to continue their existing partnerships with Microsoft, Google and Amazon to create a holistic digital ecosystem for Malaysia.

“Currently we are in full support of the first two phases as we work towards Phase 3 with focus on strengthening the digital foundation with the Government and supporting regulatory framework that can expedite digital infrastructure development,” Shukri tells BusinessToday, adding on that MDEC is also looking to increase confidence in the use of technology across all levels of society and make data and digital intelligence the heart of the digital economy in the country.

She also highlights on the future efforts to drive digital transformation and inclusion. This includes infrastructure projects, equitable access to opportunities and agile regulations for the gig economy through business innovation.

Based on the new projection made by the Prime Minister, the digital economy’s contribution to the country’s GDP is expected to reach 22.6 percent by 2025.

Staying transparent

Shukri points out that key features of the implementation approach and governance structure for the blueprint includes transparent and clear monitoring at the evaluation and reporting level to establish a complete feedback loop.

The blueprint will be practicing a KPI-based evaluation and dashboard reporting of cluster and initiative achievements to establish accountability and responsibility of Cluster Champions and initiative owners.

There will also be a two-pronged approach self-assessment framework to track progress, validate achievement and trigger objective performance evaluation.

Each initiative will also be tracked by realistic milestone and KPIs to ensure timeliness and successful implementation. 

 5G Rollout

Commenting on the 5G rollout, Shukri says it will benefit all businesses as it will enable the use of mobile wallets, e-commerce and be more data driven. With 5G, MDEC says 100 percent households will have access to the Internet, boost productivity across all sectors by 30 percent in 2030 and create new career and entrepreneurial opportunities for all Malaysians.

“With 5G, Malaysia’s digital economy will receive a significant boost with expectations of its contribution to the national GDP, at 19.1% in 2019 growing to 22.6%,” Shukri tells BusinessToday.

She is also optimistic 5G and the technology it will empower will drive investments in innovation through the speed that facilitates technology transfer, while creating more highly skilled jobs as well as making Malaysia one of the most competitive data catalyst markets in the world.

“I believe Malaysia has got what it takes and we at MDEC will give what we have got to ensure that together, we will make MyDIGITAL the only way forward towards realising a shared future of prosperity for all Malaysians in line with Malaysia 5.9,” Shukri concludes.

To date, Malaysia has attracted RM345 billion investments creating close to 185,000 jobs which most came from multi-nationals that have opened up their global business services and regional operations in the country. In 2020 alone, new investments by pure-play technology companies stood at RM3.98 billion, while new investments recorded by digital services companies were RM2.01 billion.

These investments created approximately 9,000 new jobs, according to MDEC.

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