The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, better known as MyDigital – an ambitious manifesto announced by the Prime Minister on 19 February 2021, articulated clearly that for a country to transition towards becoming a successful digital nation, it requires close collaboration of players from both the private and public sector.
During the launch of the Blueprint, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin declared that MyDigital will empower Malaysians from the northern tip of Peninsular to Sabah and Sarawak with the aim to improve every aspect of their lives. Digitalisation is seen as the driver that will increase digital literacy, create high-income jobs, improve banking and finance, provide better digital access to education and medical services to areas where in the past would have been impossible to penetrate.
The new and comprehensive approach is designed to anchor the country’s digital economy by 2030 and will be executed via three phases and 6 key strategic thrusts, close to 50 initiatives and very clear objectives and targets.
A critical factor to ensure these objectives are achieved will be connectivity. To realise its digital ambitions, Malaysia will need a robust and reliable infrastructure – a digital network capable of catering for the exponential increase in demand that will accompany higher rates of digitalisation. A technically advanced end-to-end connectivity that is secure and scalable is a pre-requisite. To meet these criteria of a robust ecosystem, operators providing the infrastructure must have vast experience in communications, sound knowledge in working with the public sector and private corporations, and a proven track record. This also includes the leadership from government, participation from industry players, support from technology providers and adoption from consumers.
This is where Celcom Axiata Berhad fits the bill. As the nation’s first mobile network with the widest coverage, Celcom has been an active and leading partner in the country’s digital journey throughout the company’s 33-year history. Apart from being first to launch many new technologies in Malaysia, it operates the largest cellular network in the country covering many of the most rural and remote areas. It is therefore well primed to help fulfil the aspirations of MyDigital.
During an exclusive interview with BusinessToday for this special supplement on Digital Malaysia 2030, we spoke to Celcom’s Chief Executive Officer, Idham Nawawi on the role the telecommunication group will play in the nation’s drive towards digitalisation.
Inspiring Digitalisation amongst Malaysians
Celcom is well known for its network and has been the backbone of the nation’s development for connectivity. But Idham does not want to stop there. In his eyes, it is a natural extension to this mission and to become one of the backbones for the nation’s digital ecosystem. Idham wants Celcom to be one of the nation’s “Most Inspiring Digital Organisation’.
“A few years back, we were all about providing connectivity but now the discussions have evolved to Celcom becoming a digital company. This is timely, because as Malaysia moves quickly towards becoming a digital nation, things that once appeared simple have since become complex. This requires us to keep up with the changes,” Idham added.
“Ourpurpose ofadvancing societies is clear, as we are committed towards making sure everyone is connected and no one is left behind. This is part of our Celcom Compass,” he shares. This, he says, was his vision towards adapting to the digital changes taking place and is well aligned with the government’s aspirations for a digital Malaysia.
The Celcom Compass was one of the first things Idham introduced after being appointed CEO: Celcom’s renewed Purpose, Vision and Values in a simple graphical representation that is evident everywhere in Celcom’s offices and in these days of remote working, as screensavers of employees’ computers. It outlines the values by which the company and its employees should operate.
Idham further highlights that Celcom’s contribution to the MyDigital Blueprint will be an important one especially with 5G and IR4.0 already on the near horizon. On this front, Celcom is prepared – it has conducted more than 40 pilots of use cases, allowing the company to better learn about how the technology can be applied to create solutions that can be applied in real world scenarios. The objective moving forward is to collaborate with various industries to offer not just connectivity but develop and implement digital applications, services and solutions for partners.
He is optimistic that the introduction of 5G by the end of this year will provide a new platform to drive innovation and deliver new applications to both consumers and business in Malaysia.
But before jumping on 5G, Celcom is also deeply involved in an initiative that caters to more fundamental needs, namely, Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) that aims to help accelerate the progress of building a digital network across the nation.
“The JENDELA program resonates well with our vision as it aims to achieve an inclusive digital nation, with wider 4G coverage that will provide higher speeds to more Malaysians. With better coverage and speed, it will unlock all kinds of digital capabilities for consumers,” Idham says.