by AUFA MARDHIAH / pic TMR FILE
THE Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) technologies are revolutionising all sectors around the world, including agriculture, education and services; as well as promising to replace the planet’s polluting, dangerous and degrading industries.
Universiti Malaya (UM) Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation Professor Dr Shaliza Ibrahim said while there is still no agreement on how to define the digital divide, there is one that the embedding ecosystem is crucial to promoting the adoption of IR4.0 technologies.
“While the government has invested in a number of programmes to give access to digital technologies as well as fundamental services, UM, among other universities in the country, has built IR4.0 centres to assist such initiatives.
“As we embrace the digital era, we must propel the economy forward to achieve the goals outlined in Malaysia’s Shared Prosperity Vision blueprint, with a focus on accelerating innovation as part of a comprehensive digital economy aimed at driving the country toward a prosperous, egalitarian, and sustainable nation,” she said at the AEI – Huawei Conference 2022 today.
Meanwhile, Huawei Malaysia’s VP of public affairs and communications Oliver Liu said there is an increasing need to promote new technology globally.
“To accomplish this, we need the government, industry, and academic institutions to collaborate to provide a free and open environment for the digital ecosystem to thrive.
“At Huawei, we are working to promote open collaboration and shared success across the ecosystem. We work with local ecosystem partners to create in-depth development plans and provide them with the expertise and resources to build their own solutions.
“Concurrently, we are also collaborating with the larger digital ecosystem to develop talent. We bring digital education to vocational training for engineers, skill development for professionals, and digital leadership for future talents through Huawei Seeds for the Future, Asean Academy, and ICT contests,” he added.
On the proliferation of IR4.0 technologies in large-scale agriculture, DreamEdge head of business and development Hisham Razuli Halim said Malaysian agriculture declined in GDP, which according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, in 2020, performance fell 5.6% due to a drop in all sectors of the economy, compared to a 4.4% increase in 2019.
The agricultural sector’s contribution to Malaysia’s GDP in 2020 was 7.4%, down 2.2% in 2019.
The drop was caused by the commodities sub-sector, particularly oil palm, which saw negative growth of 3.6% (2019: 1.5%).
Despite a slowing growth rate, oil palm was the largest contributor to agricultural value added, accounting for RM36.9 billion or 37.1%.
“The decline in GDP was caused by the decline in Malaysian national employment, significant shortage in harvest, as well as low skilled labour. At the same time, the technology adoption and transition, which is a significant aspect, is yet to be transmitted.
“To address the landscape of the issue, the sector requires automation with robotics and autonomous in smart farming, smart sensing and monitoring to help monitor the crop and harvesting activity, as well as big data,” Hisham said during the conference.
Meanwhile, Aerodyne Group founder and group CEO Kamarul A Muhamed said there is a big misunderstanding in regard to IR4.0 in the manufacturing sectors.
“When you go to IR4.0, in the shop floors there should be some key value propositions needed to be achieved such as higher productivity rates, more flexible production capabilities and agility in terms of collaboration with other companies or disciplines.
“Without these capabilities, there won’t be the evolution of the industries. What you will find in most instances in Malaysia is that the applications of technology very much are to reduce supplement content and availability of cheap labour (issues that are becoming imperative now).
“The problem is that the labour is going towards the gig economy, which itself is an IR4.0-enabled economy. One, 4.0 economy is disruptive, while the other is a traditional economy which is now on track to evolve,” he said during the panel discussion on ‘Making the Technical Leap into IR 4.0’.
On the 5G enabler front, Chong Chern Peng, VP of Digital Power Business Group Huawei Malaysia said telco and banking have already gone into IR4.0.
“Huawei started during the 2G to 3G period. Carbon neutrality and sustainability are keys among IR4.0; now, we are starting up a business group to support our partners and focussing on providing them with a more sustainable, efficient and low-carbon environment enabling IR 4.0 which is in line with our mission.
“Huawei is already diversified through enabling smart cars, electric cars, 5G driven cars, mobility and e-mobility, as well as digital power business route and cloud business route,” Chong added.
Meanwhile, Strand Aerospace Malaysia CEO and MD of business consulting centre Naguib Mohd Nor said changing mindset and people transformation is key towards IR4.0.
“We need to be aligned with technology in the future which evolves at an unprecedented time, hence, it’s very important to be aware of future trends when doing transformation,” he said.
On the manufacturing growth on the back of the pandemic — during the second quarter of 2020, the global manufacturing output dropped by 11.2%, while manufacturing production in industrialised economies dropped by 16.2%.
This also marks the largest drop observed in developing and emerging industrial economies (23.1%).
On the government’s initiatives in promoting the adoption of IR4.0 in manufacturing, Delivery Management Office director Dr Mohamad Norjayadi Tamam said the government is trying to reduce and minimise digital gaps.
“In the 1980s, Malaysia’s productivity rate decreased against South Korea, hence, the government came out with a productivity blueprint to address talent, technology, and regulation which are interrelated.
“Malaysia’s performance in knowledge, technology and future readiness decreased. We found out that 83% of Malaysian companies have no or low technology adoption in 2021, which shows huge room for improvement.
“Malaysia aims to be in the top 10 in digital infrastructure by 2025, as well as accelerating digital adoption among businesses,” he said.