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KUCHING, July 4: The Malaysian government has introduced the Malaysia Digital (MD) initiative to boost the country’s digital capabilities and economy.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Malaysia needs to produce more talent and a competitive digital workforce, well-equipped infrastructure and continue to ensure that the nation’s capabilities and capacity remain world-class.
“This is important to ensure our future generations have the foundation and facilities needed to continue to drive the country into a well-developed digital nation.
“The MD will drive more high-impact programmes and better prepare the country, which will ultimately benefit the rakyat, businesses and government,” Ismail said during the launching ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Developed based on three main principles, namely flexibility, agility and relevance, Ismail said MD, through the MD catalyst project or PEMANGKIN, will function holistically in transforming the country’s digital economic ecosystem.
At the initial stage, two PEMANGKIN projects will be introduced under the MD, namely the DE Rantau and Digital Trade programmes.
“The DE Rantau aims to make Malaysia the Digital Nomad Hub of choice in the region through increased digital consumption, digital professional mobility and tourism activities nationwide. These activities in the country will have a spillover effect that will not only help revive the tourism sector affected by the pandemic.
“It will boost local business and economic activities and open up opportunities to share knowledge and experience with the local community.
“On the other hand, the Digital Trade Programme serves to drive e-Commerce and digital adaptation by businesses as well as facilitate cross-border trade, in line with the National E-Commerce Strategic Roadmap (NESR).
“Digital Trade also aims to support the smooth movement of data between businesses to improve the efficiency, accuracy and reliability of transactions across sectors and industries,” Ismail added.
MD will focus on the nine key growth sectors: digital tourism, Islamic digital economy, digital trade, digital agriculture, digital services, digital cities, digital health, digital finance and digital content.
He further disclosed that Malaysia’s digital economy reached 22.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year and is expected to grow beyond the initial target of 25.5 per cent by 2025.
Among the fastest-growing sectors is e-Commerce which contributed 11.5 per cent to the GDP in 2020 compared to 8.5 per cent in 2019.
The value of the country’s e-commerce transactions also reached RM1 trillion for the first time last year, an increase of 21.8 per cent compared to 2020.
“Through Malaysia’s participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), the programme will facilitate wider reach into the global market, and this will greatly benefit local businesses, especially micro and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“To ensure more effective implementation of MD, the Cabinet has also agreed to establish a Digital Malaysia Coordinating Committee, or MD-CC, to coordinate its governance and operations, such as the awarding of MD Status,” Ismail added.
For starters, he said six companies have been awarded MD status, namely Bytedance System Sdn Bhd, Bridge Data Centres Malaysia (III) Sdn Bhd, GDS IDC Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Abbott Laboratories (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Aceteam Connect Sdn Bhd and Peninsula Apex Technologies Sdn Bhd. — DayakDaily