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MDEC outlines 5-year push to attract investment and drive Malaysia's digital economy

MDEC outlines 5-year push to attract investment and drive Malaysia's digital economy

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The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Malaysia’s lead agency in digital transformation has outlined its ‘Digital Investments Future5 (DIF5) Strategy’, a five-year plan focusing on five key thrusts to attract investments and advance Malaysia’s digital economy in line with the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint or MyDIGITAL.

The five-year initiative, which will run from 2021 to 2025 following the 12th Malaysia Plan, aims to secure high quality digital investments as it seeks to unlock new drivers of growth in the digital economy.

Cumulatively, MDEC says it has brought in RM345 billion worth of investments via MSC Malaysia since 1996, creating 184,396 jobs, and housing 40 of the Forbes100 companies in Malaysia.

“We have all the necessary capabilities, capacities and facilities to drive Malaysia’s digital economy into high gear and with the Future5 Investment Strategy, we are further synergising our efforts and initiatives to push the nation forward towards achieving the goals set forth in the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL),” said Raymond Siva, senior vice president of investment and brand, MDEC.

The DIF5 strategy targets the below by 2025:

  • RM50 billion investments in the digital economy;
  • Focus on 5 key industry sectors, 5 focus technologies, 5 emerging technologies and digital global business services;
  • Attract 50 Fortune500 tech companies to land and expand in Malaysia;
  • Establishment of 5 Unicorns;
  • Creation of 50,000 high-value jobs in the MSC.

The five industry sectors that have been identified as key drivers are: AgTech; HealthTech; Islamic Digital Economy and FinTech; CleanTech and EduTech. These industries are based on the strategic national industries for digitalisation and have also been mapped to the national priority sectors.

Digitalisation of these industries will have a high impact on investment, jobs and contribution to GDP. More importantly, the size and potential of these sectors would also draw large global companies, where Malaysia could benefit from international partnerships with local companies and the resulting technology and knowledge transfer.

Attracting and driving investments in five focus technologies are important to facilitate the growth of these sectors, namely: Cloud computing; data centre; artificial intelligence; cybersecurity; and digital content tools.

The DIF5 Strategy will also be focusing on five key emerging technologies to drive innovation and ensure Malaysia will be at the forefront of the rapid evolution of digital technologies and development of a future-ready digital economy.

These technologies are: Blockchain; DroneTech; edge computing; extended reality and advanced robotics. These will increase the economic complexity of the nation and help develop new and existing economic clusters which in turn creates high value job opportunities and extend domestic economic linkages. This is in line with Malaysia’s National Investment Aspirations (NIA).

These technologies are claimed to be potential game changers for the future and tie in with the MDEC’s soon to be launched Global Testbed Initiative, allowing Malaysia to offer itself as a testbed for up-and-coming technology investments and foster collaborations with Institutes of Higher Learning and Think-Tanks to develop the nation’s local intellectual property and talent pool in future technologies.  

MDEC will also be increasing efforts to grow the Digital Global Business Services, encouraging the use of robotic process automation and data analytics as well as Knowledge Engineering. More Center of Expertise (CoE) will be established to enable the workforce to move up the value chain to form the next generation of tech talents to fuel the next evolution of customer experience and employee efficiencies in the digital economy.  

“We are witnessing an unprecedented growth in the digital economy and investment into this sector but we want to do better. With the establishment of the Digital Investment Office (DIO), a collaborative platform with Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and execution of the Digital Investments Future5 (DIF5) Strategy, we are further streamlining and increasing our efforts to move the Digital Economy needle forward,” said Siva.

According to the e-Conomy SEA 2019 report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, ASEAN is poised to be the next key global growth region. Malaysia is primed to be the leading digital economy in ASEAN which has over 650 million consumers. The Internet Economy alone is expected to be worth US$300 billion by 2025.  The digital economy is expected to continue its significant contribution to the country in 2021 based on an estimated 20% contribution to GDP in 2020 by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, on the back of a 6.7% economic growth forecast this year by the World Bank.

The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL), announced recently by the Prime Minister also projects a 22.6% contribution to GDP by 2025, targeting RM70billion investments and opening up 500,000 jobs within the digital economy.

 “From our diversified multi-lingual and digitally-skilled talent pool; ready infrastructure and mature ecosystem for the digital economy to thrive, MDEC’s DIF5 Strategy will lead Malaysia to become a globally competitive digital nation, anchored on inclusivity, sustainability and shared prosperity, firmly establishing Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN,” said Siva.

(Photo courtesy: 123rf)

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