Malaysia needs to look at new industry to boost economy


THE Malaysian economy must develop ideas to increase digital adoption, transform old industries and develop entirely new industries despite setbacks from Covid-19.

Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm 500 Startups managing partner Khailee Ng suggested the idea of Malaysia going all in for an industry including space industry.

“A lot of people don’t know Malaysia is one of the best places to launch things when lack of space. It’s one of the cheapest and there’s a huge cost factor difference when you’re close to the equator.

“If we try to catch up to other industries such as electronics, even electronics giants like South Korea and China are being crushed right now, so how about space?” he said in the second seminar organised by the Economic Action Council (EAC) known as “The EAC Workshop Series: Malaysia’s Digital Economy” on Facebook Live yesterday.

Ng suggested that the country can start taking on the space economy by launching a space fund and a spaceport, as well as collaborating with all existing space companies that have already been invested in.

Still, he said old industries such as agricultural technology (agritech) and food security must not be forgotten.

“To digitise our farmers, we need to do the same thing through collaboration with local and foreign digital start-ups and companies who already revolutionised agritech. We need to create an agritech fund that will totally focus on the tech and the farmers,” he said.

He noted that e-commerce platforms such as Lazada Malaysia have been increasing digital adoption among consumers of all ages.

Commenting more on digital adoption, he pointed out that some Malaysians are saving money from working in the gig economy, as well as going online to get information on how to manage their stock portfolio.

He believes that with technology as the tool, the economy can be accelerated when every single part of the stack namely capital, entrepreneurs, investors, media and the government all come together to push technology at the same time.

“I hope to see more people get a chance to also look at technology as a potential way to invest,” said Ng.