The Prime Minster (centre) at the 27th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting held recently.
The contribution of the Malaysian digital economy towards the national gross domestic product (GDP) rose significantly from 16.38% in 2013 to 17% in 2014, said Prime Minister and Finance Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak. The figures were obtained from the latest ICT Satellite Account figures released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia.
“Fundamental to the national digital economy is MSC Malaysia,” Dato’ Sri Najib said. “Since its inception in 1996, MSC Malaysia has contributed over RM295 billion in revenue to the Malaysian economy, RM283 billion worth of investments, and more than 147,000 jobs.
“MSC Malaysia also continues to attract investments from world-class and cutting-edge companies in a wide range of industries. Considering that 17% was the 2020 target initially set by Digital Malaysia back in 2011, it is evident that our digital economy is heading in the right direction.”
The Prime Minister was speaking at the launch of the 27th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting (ICM), for which he is also the ICM chairman.
He added that the benefits of the national digital economy initiative has begun to filter down to the people and organisations that matter, where the largest groups of beneficiaries were Malaysians in the bottom 40% of the income pyramid.
“Parallel with this drive to raise the earning ability and standard of living of our people are the concerted efforts to empower the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through digital means, in particular e-commerce. Towards this end, MDeC’s push for a landmark e-commerce event similar to Cyber Monday in the United States led to #MYCyberSALE, which concluded its 2nd annual run with record sales of RM115 million, almost double last year’s figure.”
Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib said that Malaysia is setting a foundation to capitalise on the opportunities offered by disruptive technologies such as Big Data Analytics (BDA) and Internet of Things (IoT), which have been incorporated into the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).
“For Malaysia to build a vibrant digital economy, it is critical to have a robust enabling ecosystem consisting of world-class ICT talent, to meet growing technological demand and digital infrastructure for seamless connectivity.”
He said that the ICT talent gap problem needed to be addressed urgently, adding that it is imperative for Malaysian youth to be digitally savvy: “In this digital era, more emphasis is needed to give our students a head start in digital literacy skills and computational thinking – such as coding and programming – as well as raising the aptitude, awareness and interest for ICT and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).”
Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib praised MDeC and CEO Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood (right in pic, with MDeC Vice President of Communications and Marketing Razaleigh Zainal next to her) for their efforts in developing the ICT industry towards creating a developed digital economy.
“It has been one year since Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood took the helm of MDeC, and I am pleased to see the progress MDeC has made during that time, particularly in strengthening the Digital Malaysia national agenda. I am confident that MDeC will continue to play an important role as a catalyst for ICT and the driver of the digital economy. With MDeC celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, I am excited to see what will be in store in the years to come,” he said.
Bridging the digital divide
The Prime Minister said that the increasing hyperconnectivity of the inhabitants of the digital world will not only give rise to new opportunities, but will also have implications that grow in proportion with the rise of the digital natives.
“I take note of the Department of Statistics’ projection that 50% of the Malaysian workforce will be milllenials or younger by 2020. What are their expectations of Government services? How do we communicate with and engage them? What skill sets will they require to handle the jobs of the future? How will they vote?”
The Prime Minister said that these questions will have to be dealt with ponder even as the government continues efforts to ensure the provision of technological advancement. He stated that Malaysia is well on the way to bridging the analogue and digital spheres in pursuit of the goal of becoming a fully-developed economy, driven by a productive and enlightened citizenry, and guided by a forward-looking government.
He also added that the years of development and digital transformation of the Malaysian ICT industry has gained recognition worldwide, when he became one of five heads of government to be receive the ‘ICTs in Sustainable Development’ Award by the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union in New York in September. “The inaugural [award] I received was as much as an award for the country as it was for me. It is a testament to all that we have achieved in progressing from an agrarian economy to a knowledge-based, export-driven economy spurred by high technology, software and services: a digital economy.”
Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib said that Malaysia should not, however, become complacent in its bid to become an advanced economy and inclusive nation.
“It is important to enhance a knowledgeable and digitally-skilled society, supported by a robust and sustainable ICT ecosystem. We must intensify our efforts in innovating, accessing and adopting the use of digital technologies to build a brighter future for ourselves and our nation. Moving forward, as leaders, it is our shared responsibility to set the direction on how we can best steer the Digital Malaysia national agenda to the next chapter,” he emphasised.