Based on three strategic thrusts, to kick off with eight projects
Holistic program to also incorporate existing initiatives
THE Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) has revealed details of the Digital Malaysia program that would see the nation reposition itself as a “player” in the world’s digital economy, a role it enjoyed briefly when the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia) project was first announced in 1996.
MDeC, an organization under the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI), was however quick to allay concerns that Digital Malaysia was merely MSC Malaysia “rebooted.”
“MSC Malaysia is part of the Digital Malaysia program and is one of the building blocks, but Digital Malaysia is a more holistic initiative,” said MDeC chief executive officer Datuk Badlisham Ghazali (pic).
“The world has changed since the MSC was first announced in 1996 – the technologies we have today were not available then, for one.
“Also, at that time, many businesses and people were not comfortable with technology – the MSC was an ICT-led program to change all that, and it has largely succeeded with its flagship applications such as Smart Schools and E-Government.
“But we are a lot more connected now, and digital technologies have transformed the economy and society,” he said, adding that Digital Malaysia was about transforming Malaysia into a fully-developed digital economy.
MSC Malaysia – originally merely the MSC – was launched by the fourth prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to transform Malaysia into a knowledge-based nation. Digital Malaysia, first announced by the current prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in May last year, aims “to build an ecosystem that promotes the pervasive use of ICT in all aspects of the economy to create communities connected globally and interacting in real-time.”
MDeC was created to oversee the MSC Malaysia program at the start, and last October was appointed the lead agency for the Digital Malaysia program as well.
The MSC will continue as is, to enhance the ICT industry and extend it to other sectors of the economy, Badlisham told the media at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur on July 5. It will also incorporate existing initiatives, such as those under the Government’s various transformation programs.
Three strategic thrusts, eight projects
Digital Malaysia will be based on three strategic thrusts, said Deputy Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation, Datuk Haji Fadillah Haji Yusof.
“The … three strategic thrusts will leverage on new and existing initiatives to drive Malaysia towards a digital economy. 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.
The three thrusts are:
To move Malaysia from being supply- to demand-focused, or to reallocate resources to more demand-focused activities;
Shift behavior from being consumption- to production-centric, or to change consumer mindset so prevalent in technology use so that Malaysian individuals and businesses produce as much as they consume from digital technologies; and
Evolve from low knowledge-add to high knowledge-add, or increasing the development of local talent in key industries to become innovators and knowledge workers.
Digital Malaysia will deliver its targeted goals via a number of projects, Fadillah said. Currently eight projects have been identified and will be rolled out from this year.
They are the Asian e-fulfilment hub; e-payment services for small and medium businesses and microenterprises; shared cloud enterprise services; micro-sourcing for income generation; accelerated international trade through e-commerce, on-demand customized online education; growing the embedded systems industry; and a mobile digital wallet.
Metrics and milestones
The Digital Malaysia program 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, MDeC’s Badlisham said.
There are also clear targets, he added:
To help Malaysia raise its ICT contribution to 17% of GNI (gross national income) from 9.8% today;
Raise its position in the Economists’ Intelligence Unit Digital Economy Rankings to be within the top 20 from No 36 currently; and
To be within the top 10 of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Yearbook, from the current 16th position.
An estimated investment value of RM31.2 billion (US$9.9 billion) is expected to be generated from Digital Malaysia based on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model, said MOSTI’s Fadillah.
“This is expected to create 160,000 jobs and make the overall Digital Economy contribution to GNI RM294 billion (US$93.1 billion) by 2020,” he added.
MDeC also said that Digital Malaysia is expected to contribute 1% to the projected absolute growth of SME contribution to GDP (gross domestic product) by 2020.
In terms of the impact on standard of living, the program targets to deliver an additional RM7,000 (US$2,218) per annum for 350,000 Malaysians.