By Tok Pa, Ministry of Economic Affairs
Malaysia has embarked on its digitalisation journey since 1996 with the introduction of the Multimedia Super Corridor. Through this initiative, the country has recorded some success stories, such as attracting domestic and foreign information and communication technology (ICT) companies to operate in specific economic zones.
Doubling down on our strengths alone will no longer work in the future, as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the rapid advancement of disruptive technologies including digital technology have shown the potential to significantly transform the economic landscape around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the wave of change in driving the rakyat, business and the government to adapt to digitalisation for their daily needs.
Malaysia will lose out in the increasingly competitive global economy if we are not ready for change. We need to embrace digitalisation which improves standard of living and prosperity. Research has shown that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology can increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by up to 26% in the next decade. Digitalisation will also help achieve sustainable growth in the long term. Current digitalisation efforts have shown much promise for our future. Malaysia’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has amassed RM289 billion, accounting for 19.1% of GDP in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of the digital economy as well as encouraging the rakyat, traditional businesses as well as the government to shift online in meeting their daily needs.
The Government understands too well the treasure trove of opportunities that lay in embracing the digital economy towards its long- term goals as outlined in Wawasan Kemakmuran Bersama 2030 (WKB 2030). Launched in October 2019, WKB 2030 outlined a commitment to make Malaysia a nation that achieves sustainable growth along with fair and equitable distribution, across income groups, ethnicities, regions, and supply chains.
Nonetheless, the Government also recognises the potential pitfalls if digital economy efforts are not leveraged with the rakyat in mind. Hence, the Government introduces MyDIGITAL as a national initiative that symbolises the Government’s aspiration to transform Malaysia into a digitally-enabled and technology- driven high income nation, and a regional lead in digital economy.
To realise the aspirations of MyDIGITAL, the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint is formulated to set the direction, outline the strategies, initiatives and targets to build the foundation to drive the growth of digital economy, including bridging the digital divide. The Blueprint will also ensure that the country is ready to embrace digital technology by seizing existing opportunities. The National Digital Economy and 4IR Council forms the highest governance to decide policies, implement and monitor the digital economy strategies and initiatives. This outcome-driven governance structure adopts a whole-of-nation approach which involves partnerships between the rakyat, as well as the public and private sectors to realise the aspirations of MyDIGITAL.
It is my hope that MyDIGITAL prepares Malaysia to embrace the rapid digitalisation that has and will continue to provide reasonable standard of living for all the rakyat.