PHOTO - (from left) YBhg. Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, CEO of Multimedia Development Corporation(MDeC); and YB Datuk Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI).
Early ICT industry reactions have welcomed the initiatives announced under 'Digital Malaysia' by the Malaysian ministry of science, technology & innovation (MOSTI) and national ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC). This initiative is to encourage the local ICT industry raise its contribution from 9.8 percent in 2010 to 17 percent of gross national income (GNI) by 2020, and so help realise an advanced digital economy ecosystem and high income status..
During the announcement on 5 July 2012, MOSTI deputy minister YB Datuk Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof said an estimated investment value of RM31.2 billion (US$9.86 billion) is expected to be generated from Digital Malaysia based on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model, which is expected to create 160,000 jobs and make the overall contribution from the digital economy (17 percent) to GNI of RM294 billion (US$92.96 billion) by 2020. The goal to achieve developed status by 2020 is also known as Vision 2020 in Malaysia.
"From a productivity standpoint, Digital Malaysia is expected to contribute one percent to the projected absolute growth of SME [small and medium enterprise] contribution to GDP by 2020," said Hj Fadillah. "In terms of impact on standard of living, the programme targets to deliver an additional RM7,000 [US$2,213] per annum for 350,000 citizens from digital income."
MDeC chief executive officer, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, said: "The world has changed dramatically due to the technological changes behind the global digital economy. Digital Malaysia will deliver its targeted goals via a number of projects under three strategic thrusts."
"The three strategic thrusts that have been identified as critical game changers are to move Malaysia from being supply to demand focused, i.e. initiating more demand-focused activities to leverage existing infrastructure, economic activity, market trends and consumer behaviour; secondly, to shift behaviours from being consumption to production centric, i.e. encouraging and enabling Internet users to produce as much as they consume from digital technologies; and thirdly to evolve from low knowledge-add to high knowledge-add i.e. increasing development of local talent in key industries to become innovators and knowledge workers," said Ghazali.
"By effectively combining existing ICT and digital initiatives, Digital Malaysia will foster a cohesive digital ecosystem that will ensure Malaysia becomes a developed digital economy," he said.
Digital Malaysia (www.digitalmalaysia.my) is under the stewardship of the Digital Malaysia Steering Committee led by MOSTI minister YB Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili and reports to the Prime Minister.
Current projects, industry reactions
Badlisham said that eight projects have already been identified and are being rolled out from this year. "They include the Asian e-fulfilment hub; e-payment services for small and medium businesses and microenterprises; shared cloud enterprise services; microsourcing for income generation; needs-based deployment of societal programmes to community; on-demand customised online education; growing the embedded systems industry; and a mobile digital wallet."
"The Digital Malaysia programme is a dynamic one and will continuously evolve with an ongoing ideation process and mechanism leading to the development of new projects in the coming years," he said.
"Digital Malaysia will help to create a new class of digital entrepreneurs through our demand-focused initiatives and it will help nurture a new generation of digital-savvy youth through the use of digital learning who will form the bulk of Malaysia's workforce from 2020. Digital Malaysia will also help drive automation and technology adoption among SMEs to boost productivity," Badlisham said.
"Today Malaysia enjoys a strong ICT foundation, but a holistic digital initiative is still needed to ensure that Malaysia is able to advance further and Digital Malaysia with its three strategic thrusts, will ensure this ," he added.
Early industry reactions generally welcome Digital Malaysia's suggestions. Open source firm Red Hat general manager, ASEAN, Damien Wong, said: "Digital Malaysia's objective to create an ecosystem to promote community-powered approach to technology will help drive innovation and growth. As organisations begin to embrace the opportunities brought forward by these initiatives, businesses will continue to adopt open source solutions, such as cloud computing, as the mainstream technology that not only liberates resources, but at the same time, ensures that their IT infrastructure is secure, robust and agile."
Cisco Malaysia managing director Yuri Wahab said that the 'unveiling of Digital Malaysia validates the role of the intelligent network and technology as a platform for transformation - and will position Malaysia as a global economy.'
"Public-private partnerships [PPP] are paramount to ensuring tangible, industry-wide impact to businesses, the public sector and government agencies as well as the wider community," said Wahab. "As one of the world's most innovative companies, Cisco looks forward to collaborating with the Malaysian government to change the way Malaysians live, work, play and learn."
Advice on the moves ahead
Security firm Norton by Symantec's vice president, consumer business, APJ, David Freer, pointed to the need for more security awareness in the moves ahead. "Digital security is not just about PCs anymore as the threat landscape has expanded across multiple devices with the consumerisation of IT. Mobility and choice become the new paradigm and with it, consumers will need to up the ante in protecting their online assets by looking into holistic and comprehensive protection that would allow them to enjoy their growing digital lifestyles with peace of mind."
On how ICT could help enhance the safety of daily life in the new Malaysia, security surveillance provider Axis Communication country manager, Malaysia, Nafis Jasmani, said: "Video surveillance has stood the test of time as the go-to technology for obtaining information around crime and security related incidents. The network video is one of the most useful tools for fighting crime and protecting citizens, acting both to detect and deter. It creates a secure environment and helps first responders pinpoint where their assistance is most needed. Today's IP-based surveillance cameras can offer several enhanced features such as sharper image quality, motion and tampering detection.
CA IT Infrastructure Solutions Malaysia country manager Zulkifli Md Ghairi encouraged the moves to advance the country to realise Vision 2020 but stressed the need for differentiation. "We believe that businesses have to innovate to drive competitive differentiation, find new revenue streams to accelerate growth and obtain increased value from ICT in order to fully leverage the opportunities in a digital economy. ICT provides companies with the necessary tools to manage cost and risk, reduce delivery cycle times, and enable increased productivity."
Design solutions provider Autodesk's Malaysia country manager, Tan Choon Sang, said: "We believe that with emerging digital tools and the fast-developing opportunities from infinite computing, the newly set up ecosystem under Digital Malaysia will promote an environment for businesses to up their game in the global marketplace. The market demands that companies innovate in order to remain competitive, achieve greater operational efficiencies and profitability."
"The advent of e-commerce has unlocked a borderless world on the Web for merchants to expand their businesses and provided consumers with broader options for their shopping and service needs," said Rakuten Online Shopping president & chief executive officer, Masaya Ueno. "Digital Malaysia is set to enable businesses to grow and capitalise on opportunities in the digital economy with greater integration of ICT."
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