Digital Malaysia National Crowdsourcing Conference gives early boost to ecosystem

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Minister of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek  (centre) with MDeC CEO Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood (on his left) at yesterday’s Digital Malaysia National Crowdsourcing Conference.Minister of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (centre) with MDeC CEO Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood (on his left) at yesterday’s Digital Malaysia National Crowdsourcing Conference.

Since embarking on its National IT Agenda on its journey of transformation in 1996, Malaysia has come a long way in realising the use of information and communication technology (ICT) towards vision 2020.This was further boosted by the Digital Malaysia initiative, launched in 2011 and led since 2012 by Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC). This initiative was meant to drive various ICT initiatives for wealth creation and to help enhance the quality of life for the rakyat.

Since then, Digital Malaysia has introduced many programmes to leverage on the benefits of ICT in rural communities.

Late last year, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak has pushed for even greater impact with the aim to look towards even the most niche sectors. One of the key areas of focus was crowdsourcing, which would be beneficial at many levels to the nation. In fact, so much so that Budget 2015 was tabled with the help of the rakyat in part.

The Prime Minister himself hosted a crowdsourcing platform on his personal website, allowing citizens to make suggestions on various topics ranging from public service to health.

Fig 1. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak saw early the potential benefits of crowdsourcing and tested it during the run up to Budget 2015

PM's Budget 2015 outsourcing effort

In that spirit, MDeC organised and held the Digital Malaysia National Crowdsourcing Conference yesterday to a full house in Kuala Lumpur. The objective was to offer a platform for local businesses and the industries at large to gain direct insight from thought leaders in the crowdsourcing industry. Opening the event was Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia, who was confident that the move would be beneficial.

“The government believes in the potential of the innovation-based Digital Economy as the source of growth and wealth. We have invested, and will continue with the effort to upgrade and provide good ICT infrastructures – to both businesses and citizens. We have also put in policies, programmes and initiatives to promote the adoption of ICT services,” said Dato’ Shabery.

Dato’ Shabery also mentioned that “first and foremost, crowdsourcing is an inclusive model. Anybody who wants to participate it in, should be able to do so. Secondly, it is a trend that resonates with the ‘digital natives’ – future generations that have access to, and skills to use digital technologies. And thirdly, it also provides income and employment opportunities, that will contribute towards achieving the high-income nation status.”

Through the Digital Malaysia National Crowdsourcing Conference, MDeC also hoped to strengthen the local crowdsourcing industry ecosystem by highlighting the potential benefits of crowdsourcing to decision makers and business owners. This included not only the private sector, but also showcased how other nation governments have already benefitted through the power of crowdsourcing.

MDeC CEO Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood said that “the contribution to the Digital Economy currently stands at 16.38%, compared with Hong Kong (7%), the US (4.3%) and Singapore (3.4%). This also means the Digital Economy GDP contribution growth was 7.7% compared with our national GDP contribution growth at 7.4%. To maintain and further spur this growth, Malaysia needs to ensure that we fully capitalize on the waves of innovation brought about by new digital business models, such as crowdsourcing.”

The local crowdsourcing industry ecosystem is still currently in its infancy and by highlighting the potential benefits of crowdsourcing to decision makers and business owners, the impact to the industry as a whole is promising. Crowdsourcing is seen as a future trend in employment and has already started to change how some companies operate and has helped in areas such as reducing operational cost.

Aside from that, being in early stages in the Southeast Asia region, Malaysia has been identified by global players to be one of the countries with high potential in crowdsourcing. MDeC has already initiated collaboration with Freelancer.com and Crowdsourcing.org. “We consider both parties as our ‘International Strategic Partners’ whom we will continue to work with to realize the full potential of crowdsourcing,” said Dato’ Yasmin.

Naturally, with this new dimension, new talent will emerge and Malaysia is already ranked fifth in terms of the overall talent competitiveness on the IMD World Talent Report. With all these benefits in mind, it’s fairly certain that the early push on these initiatives will have a positive impact on the Malaysian economy, businesses and rakyat in the long run.

Various partnership agreements and MoUs were also signed at the conference.Various partnership agreements and MoUs were also signed at the conference.

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