Mixed responses received for MyDigital initiative

MPC urges businesses to embrace information and digital technology to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace


THE newly launched MyDigital initiative, which aims to spur the economy in the next 10 years via digital transformation, drew mixed responses from industry players.

In light of the pandemic which has underscored the importance of connectivity and digitalisation, businesses were told to be resilient and adapt to the shift towards the digital economy.

Malaysia Productivity Corp (MPC) urged businesses to embrace information and digital technology to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace while encouraging productivity growth.

MPC DG Datuk Abdul Latif Abu Seman said the launch of the initiative is “impeccably timely” to the enthusiasm of the industries in adopting digitalisation for their operations.

“MPC believes that the strategies and initiatives for Malaysia’s digital economy as plotted in the blueprint will boost business digital transformation, resulting in higher productivity growth and greater competitive advantage,” he said in a statement recently.

Malaysian Entrepreneurship Foundation chairman Nitesh Malani said the initiative, which also aims to encourage 875,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to be on e-commerce platforms, is forward-thinking and imperative for the industry players.

He told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that MSMEs will be able to reduce operating costs while expanding market reach with the digital drive.

“Upskilling of knowledge and use of key digital infrastructure will enable growth potential of MSMEs.

“Other Asean countries have gone far ahead in implementing various digital initiatives. We look forward to the implementation of such digital use to ease operations,” he said.

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) also lauded the government’s initiative and pledged its unequivocal support towards making the initiative a key driver of national development and success.

Its chairman Datuk Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff said with the full support of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, MDEC will continue to lead the digital economy forward, centred on ensuring shared prosperity and towards realising its vision of Malaysia 5.0.

It is focused on three strategic thrusts, namely empowering digitally skilled Malaysians, accelerating digitally powered businesses and attracting digital investments.

“MDEC is committed to rolling out key digital initiatives announced in Budget 2021 to ensure our society can fully leverage and benefit from the IR4.0 technologies, and establish Malaysia as the Heart of Digital Asean,” he said in a statement.

However, the MyDigital initiative, which promises a wide array of benefits for the nation including the development and rollout of 5G in stages by the end of the year, seemed insufficient in positioning Malaysia among the leaders for digital transformation in the region.

SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang highlighted that the initiative should be deployed within five years as the decade-long timeline, especially for 5G development, may still be slow progressing for the country.

“Would we still be able to catch up in the digital era after 10 years or would we already be left behind in the next five years when the country still lacks 5G infrastructure nationwide?

“We must have the 5G infrastructure in three years and deploy it nationwide in five years,” he told TMR.

He added that the government, especially the Economic Planning Unit should have engaged with the industry players and associations regarding the blueprint.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government expects the digital economy to contribute 22.6% towards the country’s GDP by 2025.

With that target, the government was told by the Centre for Market Education to be “prudent” in setting an objective that is too ambitious that cannot be met via only policy design and implementation.

“The digital transformation that the government is hoping for, with its positive consequences, belongs to the realm of those processes of creative destruction described by the Austrian economist Joseph A Schumpeter over a century ago.

“By looking at the history of breakthrough innovative processes, the main common feature they present is that they were all entrepreneur-driven and not government-led, said its CEO Dr Carmelo Ferlito in a statement.

He added that innovations usually take place in a country because entrepreneurs could identify “unexploited profit opportunities” wrapped into new ideas, production processes or markets.

“When one of them grasps those opportunities and enjoys a competitive advantage, the transformation process is set in motion and it has to struggle against the old way to do things,” he said.

Read our previous report

Malaysians to enjoy 5G services in stages by year-end