MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak (pic) has announced new Digital Malaysia initiatives to further extend the benefits of the ‘digital economy’ to the Bottom 40% of the income pyramid (B40) and to deepen the economic impact of niche segments.
Digital Malaysia is a programme that seeks to transform the nation into a digital economy by 2020. The lead agency is Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC), which also manages the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia) project to boost the ICT industry in the country.
Najib’s announcement was made at the 26th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting (ICM), MDeC said in a statement.
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 ‘e-Rezeki’ (rezeki is ‘livelihood’ in Malay) initiative will be rolled out across multiple Digital Work Centres and repurposed telecentres to impact rural and urban low-income households, MDeC said in its statement.
“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% (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 digital economy growth, which now contributes 16.3% to the national GDP (gross domestic product),” he claimed.
The second initiative is to spur public sector excellence with Digital Government Transformation. This includes online service delivery, telecommunications infrastructure, and human capital development.
Central to this is a planned shift from the current provider-based internal rating to a rakyat-centric (citizen-centric) assessment of government online services, MDeC said.
“Economies around the world are being reshaped by seismic shifts in digital technology that offer global potential,” said Najib.
“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,” he added.
According to the ICT Satellite Account 2013 and GDP Second Quarter 2014 reports by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), Malaysia’s digital economy showed marked advancement with the ICT sector contributing RM161.6 billion to the nation’s 2013 GDP of RM986.7 billion, MDeC said.
E-commerce, a key area of growth identified under Digital Malaysia, made its debut in the ICT Satellite Account in 2013. Gross value added in this sub-sector stood at RM53.5 billion and represented a 5.4% share of national GDP.
Recent efforts such as the #MyCyberSALE, rolled out by MDeC in partnership with the industry, will further push the e-commerce envelope and drive wider SME (small and medium enterprise) participation, MDeC said.
Game on for data hub, creative content
The national ICT custodian also said it would drive the development and promotion of key technology hubs for data traffic.
A global data traffic hub will be created by leveraging the data centre ecosystem in Cyberjaya and international data connectivity gateways, and creating a new cloud content and services cluster in the Iskandar Malaysia development region in the southern Malaysian state of Johor.
MDeC will also position Malaysia at the forefront of creative multimedia content through the introduction of Content Malaysia, a one-stop centre to spur the proliferation of 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 intellectual property creation, market access and commercialisation.
In line with this, a decision was also made to develop Malaysia into a regional games and interactive media hub, MDeC said.
This will be achieved by building on Malaysia’s existing digital content sector. Actions to be taken include attracting anchor companies to serve as industry drivers, building local games capacity and capability, and raising global market access through publishing platforms.
Big data for 11MP
A decision was also made to include big data analytics (BDA) as a priority area for the 11th Malaysian Plan (11MP), the latest in a series of five-year national development plans that the Government will unveil next year.
MDeC will drive three high-impact BDA projects which include setting up the Asian Institute of Data Science in collaboration with leading global universities; opening up Government Open Data through data.gov.my; and establishing 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,” said MDeC chief executive officer Yasmin Mahmood (pic).
“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,” she added.
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