Gobind moves to accelerate Malaysia’s digital economy
By Chong Jinn Xiung July 5, 2018
- Need to keep pace with technology or risk being left behind
- Develop talent locally while attracting talent from abroad
SINCE taking office, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo has pushed for doubling broadband speed and halving the price and brought the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament to Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).
Taking time off his busy schedule, Gobind sat down for a fireside chat with Catcha Group co-founder Patrick Grove at the Wild Digital 2018 conference.
Grove asked the minister what his plans were beyond better broadband and airing the World Cup on free-to-air TV? Gobind says that his ministry is open to speaking with technology companies to understand what their challenges are.
He is well aware of the different clusters in the ecosystem and how each is unique. One cannot look at them as homogenous and the government knows it needs to look at these clusters individually to understand them.
“Each of them has their own peculiar problems to solve. We need to understand that change is happening all across the world and the ministry is looking to keep up and figure a way to work things out,” he said.
“With the rapid speed of change in technology, we need to keep up with the latest developments or risk being left behind.”
Aside from facilitating existing initiatives by the government, Gobind highlighted that there is a need to take a closer look at existing regulations as within a globally connected world, whatever happens on the Internet easily goes across borders.
Gobind also stressed the need to focus on education to prepare the next generation at a young age for the technology of tomorrow so that they can be a part of it.
The Communications and Multimedia ministry also understands that beyond helping to develop local talents, it needs to attract talent from abroad to bring new ideas and technology to build better products.
Of course, the main competition in the region for talent is Singapore, but Gobind seems determined that Malaysia needs to get into the thick of things to understand what is the pulling interest of the moment that would attract talent before someone else grabs that opportunity.
On a lighter note, Grove took Gobind on a walk down memory lane to the time the minister had his first interactions over social media, Twitter in particular.
Entertainingly, the minister’s first tweet on his favourite social media platform back in 2010 was a message to Women, Family and Community Development deputy minister Hannah Yeoh, telling her that he was finally on Twitter.
Grove wondered what was Gobind’s preferred method to keep in touch with other senior government officials be it Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad or Anwar Ibrahim. “Is there a special WhatsApp group chat where all of you are in together?” Grove asked.
The answer, to everyone’s surprise, is that he likes to keep things old school and call. There may be the occasional FaceTime call now and then but more often than not, that would be an accident.