Three major shifts to look out for Malaysia

by AUFA MARDHIAH / pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA needs to look out for three major megatrends that will have a bearing on the country’s economies and societies.

“The advent of IR4.0 will shift manual labour jobs to automation, demographic changes will shift from Baby Boomers to Millennials and Zoomers, and the centre of economic and political power will shift from the west to Asia,” Penang Governor Datuk Seri Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak (picture) said in his speech at the annual Asia Economic and Entrepreneurship Summit (AEES) yesterday.

Against the backdrop of the three major shifts, he also highlighted that the most urgent and pressing challenge is climate change from manmade activities which leads to the emergence of new diseases, more extreme weather patterns, food shortages, forced migration and more conflicts.

In addition, he is cautiously optimistic that the region will rise better and stronger saying: “Malaysia is located in a resilient region that has proven to face tough challenges, the people must be vigilant and must adapt when necessary.”

Speaking on behalf of the minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti), Mosti’s Deputy Minister Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim the special address said Malaysia is on the path of national recovery and heading in the right direction.

“Our economy exceeded expectations by recording a solid 5% in our GDP growth in the first quarter of this year. Inflation is under control at 2.2% as we increased subsidies for petrol, some food items and essential items. I am optimistic about Malaysia’s growth prospects for 2022 and beyond,” he said.

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digitalisation in Asean (the fastest growing Internet market in the world).

Ahmad Amzad informed that the digital economy is projected to reach US$35 billion (RM153.59 billion) in gross merchandise value by 2025 in Malaysia and is expected to contribute 22.6% to the GDP thus creating about 500,000 jobs by 2025 (with economic growth such as fintech, edtech and healthtech).

He also opined that businesses must capitalise on the digital boom, and the government to provide a conducive regulatory environment, as well as a vibrant ecosystem for businesses if they do not want to be left behind.

Furthermore, in tandem with MyDigital, Mosti has embarked on an initiative to mainstream Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as the main driver of economic growth which is necessary for Malaysia to remain globally competitive.

“Mosti will be using the STI technologies to promote economic growth in various sectors and industries such as energy, healthcare, smart cities, agriculture, education — through leveraging the power of digitalisation based on emerging technologies (5G/6G, sensors, 4D/5D printing, advanced intelligent systems, blockchain, bioscience and neurotechnology),” he further added.

In terms of spearheading STI to drive inclusive and sustainable growth, he said: “Through the partnership of Mimos, Maxis and Huawei Malaysia, Malaysia’s 5G and AI Innovation Hub is a facility equipped with 5G network infrastructure and AI instruments to accelerate the creation of industrial use-cases enabled by 5G, AI and other advanced technologies in the country.”

MyDigital Blueprint is also seen to further strengthen and elevate the sustainable development of the digital economy by providing a collaborative platform and market demand for digital solutions, which will then place Malaysia on the trajectory to become a high-tech producer nation.

“Malaysia sees sustainable development goals in a bigger picture to support planetary health, which has become more important than ever before. Mosti will lead the formulation of a national action plan on planetary health using science, technology and innovation to protect and manage the environment. Malaysia, through Mosti, is always open to forging strategic partnerships with global institutions in the area of digitalisation,” he concluded.

The one-day summit was carried out in three sessions with speakers from various industries and backgrounds.

Session one on the Asia Economic Megatrends-Competitiveness, Innovation and Transformation; session two discusses on the Post-pandemic Corporate Leadership-Enhancing Sustainability and Governance; and session three on the New Growth Drivers for Asia- Digitalisation and Green Economy.

With the theme “The Great Reset — Asia Megatrends and Opportunities Post Covid”, the AEES this year focuses on building back to the new normal which requires a great reset with a greater focus on resilience, renewal and rebuilding as well as government support.

Organised by KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific, the Economic Club of Kuala Lumpur and the China Daily Asia Pacific; the summit is a meeting of minds for government, business, civil society and thought leaders to discuss the key trends, strategic challenges and major issues impacting on business and industry in Asia; as well as identifying business and investment opportunities in key economic sectors and the new growth drivers for Asia.