Malaysia’s persistent efforts and innovative initiatives have enabled the country to climb the rankings into the Top 50 in the past two years, according to the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) 2020 by the United Nations (UN), as the nation joined the very high EGDI group for the first time in 2020. The Index provides a snapshot of country trends and relative rankings of e-government development in the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“As such, the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) is designed to fast-track ideas to impact. Through this, we want to create solutions to enhance the rakyat’s quality of life and income, create new high-skilled jobs, attract the best local talent, provide opportunities and foster shared prosperity, while reducing dependency on foreign labour. An innovation-driven government will shape an active, resilient and competitive society,” says Amiruddin Abdul Shukor, the Acting CEO of the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) which serves as the Lead Agency in the NTIS Secretariat.
“Local technology development is imperative for the country, we need to slowly move from being just tech users to also be strong technology producers. Importing technology for domestic consumption is not sustainable from an economic or talent development perspective – which is why we are fostering more locally-developed solutions through the NTIS,” presses Dzuleira Abu Bakar, CEO of Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), and NTIS secretariat and technology audit partner.
Last year, the government directed RM100 million through PENJANA towards the NTIS initiative, laying the groundwork for Malaysian-bred technologies to be recognised, supported, funded and brought to market in an expedient way.
“NTIS is a critical platform to accelerate efforts to connect with more government agencies to unearth a variety of use cases leading towards stronger commercialisation activities and success stories for the country.. By unpacking a spread of challenges, we enable more exploration, development and testing – which fosters the enculturation of innovation,” Dzuleira says.
As such, between May and August, the NTIS engaged all 26 Malaysian Government Ministries in a 12-week Innovation Masterclass, to design and develop products or solutions which could enable Malaysia to tackle issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.