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Malaysia will be global focal point again for ICT dialogue: WCIT 2020

AvantiKumar | Oct. 27, 2014
MDeC and PIKOM sign agreement to jointly host for the second time the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) dubbed the 'Olympics of the ICT industry.'

Dato Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer, MDeC  

Photo - Dato' Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer, MDeC

Malaysia's national ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (PIKOM) to jointly host the 22nd World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in Malaysia in the year 2020.

The signing ceremony between MDeC and PIKOM was held during the 26th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting (ICM) in Putrajaya recently and witnessed by the prime minister of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

"We are honoured to once again host the WCIT in 2020 with PIKOM," said MDeC chief executive officer Dato' Yasmin Mahmood. "This is a testament to MSC Malaysia's long term vision and strategy to not only raise the bar in the local ICT industry but also reinforce our mission to realise Malaysia as a global hub for ICT. The WCIT 2020 will undoubtedly make Malaysia the world's focal point for dialogue, policy action and entrepreneurship on global developments related to the ICT industry and digital economy."

During WCIT 2014 held last month in Guadalajara, PIKOM chairman Cheah Kok Hoong said the general assembly of WITSA [World Information Technology and Services Alliance] had awarded the honour to Malaysia of hosting the 22nd series of WCIT. The year 2020 is also the national goal for Malaysia to achieve a developed, high-income digital economy.


Cheah Kok Hoong_Chairman PIKOM modified 

Cheah Kok Hoong, Chairman, PIKOM

In May 2008, PIKOM hosted the first WCIT (WITSA's 16th World Congress on Information Technology) in this region and attracted 3,313 delegates from more than 80 countries, (including ICT ministers from 35 countries) as well as 42,659 expo visitors from 92 countries during which 100 prominent personalities spoke. WCIT 2008 also raised more than US$11 million in sponsorships, the most in the history of the World Congress and was declared by WITSA at the time as the best-ever in its 30-year history.

Held biennially, WCIT is the flagship event of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA), a consortium of more than 80 international ICT organisations whose members comprise more than 90 percent of the global ICT market. The first WCIT was held in Barcelona, Spain in 1978 and Brasilia, Brazil has been selected as the host for the 20th WCIT in 2016.

 Digital economy extensions

Prime Minister Najib also announced new Digital Malaysia initiatives to deepen the economic impact of ICT. "Economies around the world are being reshaped by seismic shifts in digital technology that offer global potential. Malaysia's success will hinge on how well our businesses, citizens and civil service respond to these opportunities and creatively harness the new waves of growth that a digital economy offers. At the same time, widespread digital literacy is critical to amplify the impact on productivity, innovation and standard of living across the wider economy."

To extend the benefits of the national digital economy to the bottom 40 percent of the income period [B40], Najib announced two further initiatives from the 26th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting (ICM):

- The first initiative is to enhance the standard of living of the B40 community by accelerating existing efforts under Digital Malaysia to help the poor earn new income via crowdsourcing. This initiative will be rolled out across multiple Digital Work Centres and repurposed telecentres to impact rural and urban low-income households.

- The second initiative is to spur public sector excellence with Digital Government Transformation. This includes online service delivery, telecommunications infrastructure, and human capital development.  There will be a move from the current provider-based internal rating to a rakyat-centric [people-based] assessment of government online services.

"Our goal of becoming a Digital Economy is not just to be technologically advanced," said Najib. "Fundamentally, it is about helping and encouraging Malaysians of all walks of life, including the bottom 40 percent (B40) of the income pyramid, to be innovative and be willing to apply their minds to become producers and not just consumers of technology. This will help propel the Digital Economy growth, which now contributes 16.3 percent to the national gross domestic product [GDP]."

 ICT's GDP contribution

MDeC's Yasmin said:  "The ICT industry's contribution to the national economy has grown steadily over the past two decades, spurred by the development of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia) and rapid assimilation of digital technologies into everything we do at work, home and play."

She said that according to the ICT Satellite Account 2013, and GDP Second Quarter 2014 by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), Malaysia's digital economy showed significant advancement with the ICT sector contributing RM161.6 [US$49.28] billion to the nation's 2013 GDP of RM986.7 [US$300.91] billion.

e-Commerce, a key area of growth identified under Digital Malaysia, made its debut in the ICT Satellite Account in 2013, she said. Gross value added in this sub-sector stood at RM53.5 [US$16.32] billion and represented a 5.4 percent share of national GDP. Recent efforts such as the #MyCyberSALE, rolled out by MDeC in synergy with the industry, will further push the e-Commerce envelope and drive wider small and medium enterprise [SME] participation.

In addition, MDeC will promote key technology hubs for data traffic. A global data traffic hub will be created by leveraging the data centre ecosystem in Cyberjaya, the international data connectivity gateways and creating a new cloud content and services cluster in the Iskandar region.

She said Malaysia was also be in positioned with creative multimedia content through the Content Malaysia initiative, a one-stop centre to inspire all types of creative content in the country. Content Malaysia will enable content creators and industry players to exchange ideas, pitch for funding and take their ideas to the next development level which includes IP creation, market access and commercialisation.

Malaysia as a regional games and interactive media hub was a natural extension of this, said Yasmin, adding that this included attracting anchor companies to serve as industry drivers,

Big Data Analytics (BDA) has also been identified as a priority in the 11th Malaysian Plan (RMK11). MDeC will drive three high-impact BDA projects, which included the setting up of the Asian Institute of Data Science in collaboration with global universities; the opening up of Government Open Data through; and the establishment of a BDA Innovation Centre of Excellence led by the private sector.

"We believe the decisions taken at the 26th MSC Malaysia ICM will further drive Malaysia's long-term vision and strategy to not only raise the bar in the local ICT industry but also enable the national transformation agenda. The next six years will be crucial, as MDeC takes Digital Malaysia to the next level with a stronger focus on delivering visible impact by deepening niche economic segments and enhancing community benefits from digital technology," said Yasmin.


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