Point: ‘Make Malaysia a nation second to none’

  • PM Najib challenges Malaysians to put aside political beliefs and work towards a shared destiny
  • Using Genovasi as the platform to tap ideas starting with our neighborhoods

Point: ‘Make Malaysia a nation second to none’WITH his regular appearances at Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) events, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is sending a clear signal that innovation is important to him and he wants to be the prime minister who is identified with championing it.

The location for his latest innovation-themed event was not the typical venue you would see such an event being held at. Instead of the air-conditioned confines of a five-star hotel, it was held in in the Bangsar section of Kuala Lumpur, at an exposed corner coffee-house owned by a young and successful Gen Y-ish entrepreneur.

Judging by the hordes of journalists who came, it is also clear that the media is aware of the importance Najib places on innovation and are out to play their part in promoting it too.

A number of senior editors from the media -- including this writer -- were there too, to chip in with their thoughts during the rapid brainstorm session that was organized as part of the event. Even key social media influencers were invited to be part of the event (pic below courtesy of Kal Joffres of Tandemic).

Point: ‘Make Malaysia a nation second to none’Just as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pushed information and communications technology via his Multimedia Super Corridor vision and created the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) as the agency to drive it, Najib created AIM to be the driving force behind the push towards embedding innovation DNA into the nation’s psyche and economy.

Unlike MDeC however, AIM is a statutory body set up via the Akta Agensi Inovasi Malaysia 2010 (Act 718) which answers directly to the Prime Minister, therefore making the agency more nimble and able to move decisively -- at least, in theory.

Najib’s latest appearance at an AIM function was on Nov 14 when he launched the Genovasi Challenge, a platform inviting Malaysians to take “ownership of the positive changes they wish to see take shape in Malaysia.”

The video that accompanied the launch said it all. “We complain all the time. We are good at complaining. How about we stop complaining and try to do something for once?”

That something is called The Challenge which in itself is part of the overall Genovasi initiative launched by Najib on August 1. The Challenge is based on a crowd-sourced approach that aims to pool together a range of ideas that can be employed in different neighborhoods.

Why pick neighborhoods? As Najib said at the launch, Malaysians need to put aside their political beliefs and work towards a shared destiny and with the aim, “we must make Malaysia a nation second to none.”

What better place to start than where we live? “They [neighborhoods] are the building blocks that combine to form our nation. So, let’s start by creating better neighborhoods and communities,” he urged.

The idea is for people to get together to propose ways to improve their neighborhood, with the aim of improving the quality of life there. Najib is dangling a big carrot to ensure Malaysians take this seriously.

“I will make sure that your innovative ideas are rewarded. We will offer attractive prizes for the best ideas. Not only that, we will also help you get resources to implement your ideas so that you can realize your vision of a better neighborhood and community.” The best idea will get RM100,000 for it to be implemented.

Submissions for the Genovasi Challenge, called “Connected Communities,” will be accepted from November 14 to December 15, 2012. After a judging period during which finalists will be shortlisted, the public will be able to vote for the best submissions.
Visit http://www.challenge.my/ to learn more about the Genovasi Challenge.

Counterpoint: PM’s Genovasi drive just doesn’t jive

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