11th Malaysia Plan: Broadband gets some love
By A. Asohan May 21, 2015
- Sustainable development and equitable distribution key, PM says
- Human capital and infrastructure development may positively affect tech ecosystem
MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak (pic) announced six key thrusts under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) to ensure the country hits its target of becoming a developed nation by 2020, and also announced further moves to expand high-speed broadband (HSBB) availability in the country.
Under two new infrastructure initiatives, households in state capitals and ‘high-impact growth areas’ will get 100Mbps broadband Internet connectivity, while rural areas will get 20Mbps broadband under the 11MP, the premier said. Efforts will be also be made through to drive down the cost of access.
When it comes to the six key thrusts, two – human capital development and strengthening infrastructure –may also have an impact on the tech ecosystem.
Najib said the 11MP would focus on sustainable development, looking for new sources of growth, and inclusiveness in keeping with his 1Malaysia aspiration, with the wellbeing of the people being a key thrust.
The six key thrusts, according to national news agency Bernama, are:
2) Improving wellbeing for all;
3) Accelerating human capital development for an advanced nation;
4) Pursuing green growth for sustainability and resilience;
5) Strengthening infrastructure to support economic expansion; and
6) Re-engineering growth for greater prosperity
To download a copy of the 11th Malaysia Plan, click here.
Najib said that ‘game-changers’ would be implemented to ensure the six core strategies will be achieved.
Saying that human capital will be crucial, he said that 1.4 million new jobs will created in the next five years.
He also said that children aged 13-18 living in welfare institutions will be given technical and vocational education opportunities.
The 11MP is the latest in the series of five-year national development plans that were first introduced by the country’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, and if all goes well should be the last as Malaysia heads into developed nation status.
On his Facebook page, Najib described the 11MP as the last lap towards achieving Vision 2020 which former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched in 1991, targeting developed nation status for Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir’s vision of a developed status nation however was far more wide-ranging than Najib’s, and included social progress as well, and included statements such as “Malaysia can be a united nation, with a confident Malaysian society, infused by strong moral and ethical values, living in a society that is democratic, liberal and tolerant, caring, economically just and equitable, progressive and prosperous, and in full possession of an economy that is competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.”
Najib has however decided to focus on income and infrastructure, with his Economic Transformation Programme targeted at raising income per capita to US$15,000.
The 10MP (2011-2015), unveiled in 2010, allocated RM230 billion (US$64 billion), an increase of 22% from the 9MP, of which 60% was spent on physical development and the remainder on non-physical development.
High-speed broadband is critical for economic growth, the 11MP report states. According to an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 2012 report, a 10% increase in broadband penetration will contribute 0.7 percentage points increase in Malaysia’s GDP.
Under the 10MP, High Speed Broadband (HSBB) and Broadband for General Population (BBGP) initiatives were rolled out in several states, raising the national broadband penetration from 55.6% in 2010 to 70.2% in 2014.
ICT infrastructure in the public sector, previously managed by individual ministries, was consolidated into 1Gov*Net in 2012, a centrally-managed dedicated network connecting 10,552 out of 11,268, or nearly 94%, of all Federal Government buildings.
Under the 1BestariNet programme, efforts were made to provide connectivity to schools to support teaching and learning. A total of 10,132 schools were connected through fibre (nine schools), WiMAX (6,628 schools), Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (1,086 schools), Very Small Aperture Terminal (2,129 schools), and wireless (280 schools).
Under the 11MP, the Government targets broadband infrastructure to reach 95% of populated areas, and to make broadband more affordable, targeting subscription prices at 1% of gross national income (GNI) per capita for fixed-lined broadband.
During the period in question (2016-2020), key infrastructure initiatives such as High-Speed Broadband 2 (HSBB 2) and Sub-Urban Broadband (SUBB) will be undertaken, along with policies to improve access pricing and consumer protection frameworks.
Digital infrastructure quality and affordability
Digital infrastructure plays a critical role in connecting businesses and individuals to the global marketplace, allowing people to communicate in ways never possible before due to rapid technological advances, the 11MP report states.
Malaysia aspires to ensure that its citizens and economy keep pace with the digital global economy. This aspiration will be achieved through four strategies:
- Strategy C1: Expanding and upgrading broadband infrastructure through deploying broadband as an essential service, improving international to last-mile connections, and integrating digital infrastructure planning;
- Strategy C2: Increasing affordability and protection for consumers through an improved Access Pricing Framework (APF) and setting standards for consumer protection;
- Strategy C3: Migrating to DTT (digital terrestrial television) by implementing the second phase of Malaysia’s DTT and introducing value added services; and
- Strategy C4: Strengthening infrastructure for smart cities through better connectivity and seamless integration of urban services.
The 10MP (PDF) declared a special emphasis would be given to enablers of productivity, specifically:
- Focusing on skills development, especially in terms of upskilling the existing workforce to facilitate industries to move up the value chain;
- Promoting the development of concentrated industrial clusters and supporting ecosystem towards enabling specialisation and economies of scale;
- Increasingly targeting investment promotion towards investment quality (as opposed to just quantity), which support higher value add activities and diffusion of technology; and
- Increasing public investment into the enablers of innovation, particularly R&D and venture capital funding.
Najib then said that the Government is committed to investing in creativity, including efforts such as stimulating entrepreneurship, revamping the school curriculum, focusing on R&D and promoting availability of risk capital.
The Government also aimed to increase R&D expenditure during through a combination of greater public R&D funding combined with facilitation support for private sector R&D.
The premier also promised a review of Malaysia’s bankruptcy law on the premise that innovation requires an environment that accepts failure, promotes a diversity of views and gives entrepreneurs a second chance.
To promote innovation through knowledge-based small enterprises, regulatory flexibility will be accorded for companies with five or fewer employees, he added.
ICT was identified as a National Key Economic Area (NKEA). The ICT sector accounted for 9.8% of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2009. This sector will continue to be a key focus for Malaysia and is expected to gain greater momentum driven by the convergence of industries due to digitalisation, the 10MP said.
The contribution of the ICT industry to GDP is targeted to increase to 10.2% by 2015. Greater use of ICT will not only support the growth of the sector but also boost productivity and raise the nation’s overall competitiveness.
However, to achieve growth, Malaysia needs to shift from being an average producer of general ICT products and services to a niche producer of selected ICT products and services, and progress from a net importer to a net exporter.
Issues of lack of product acceptability, weak product branding and lack of cross-discipline expertise will be addressed. Key strategies that will be adopted to propel the industry are as follows:
- MSC Malaysia will identify and support the development of niche areas in software and e-solutions, creative multimedia, shared services and outsourcing as well as e-business. FDI (foreign direct investment) strategy will be to attract multinational corporations (MNCs) to anchor these selected focus areas, with clusters of knowledge-based SMEs (small and medium enterprises) around the MNCs. A tiered benefits scheme will be established whereby financial and non-financial benefits will be provided based on the company’s needs, size, stage of maturity and criteria such as the ability to catalyse the development of SMEs in priority sectors and induce high spill over effects;
- The Government will aggressively promote the use of ICT in all industries in parallel with the development of the ICT sector. Cloud computing services will be developed to provide SMEs with critical software applications for customer relations management, enterprise resource planning, supply-chain management, human resource management, and financial and accounting management. Niche areas for applications development include healthcare, education and financial services especially in Islamic banking;
- In the creative industry that currently contributes about 1.6% to GDP, emphasis will be on creative multimedia, especially animation for simulation, advertising and entertainment, and games development. A National Creative Industry Policy will be formulated and the National Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting (DTTB) project will be rolled-out to help spur the expansion of related creative industries. With DTTB technology, more content will be delivered more efficiently; and
- Education and training will be prioritised to meet the human resource requirements in this sector. This will be done through focussed collaboration between the industry-academia-government, especially for curriculum development and industrial training.
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