Week in Review: Legalising Uber and Grab the easy part, what of Airbnb?
By Karamjit Singh August 12, 2016
- Will SEA governments be as accommodating of the accommodation startup?
- Computational thinking to be embedded into Malaysia’s school curriculum
SO Malaysia has announced that both Grab and Uber are to be made legal services. It is a gutsy political decision, considering taxi drivers and companies make up at least 40,000 voters in the country.
But the Malaysian Government has said that a critical factor in its decision was the wellbeing of citizens. And these citizens almost unanimously love the higher quality services offered via both Grab and Uber.
Moving beyond this, I am really intrigued to see how the country, and even the South-East Asian region, will deal with Airbnb simply because the hospitality industry is a larger employer and tax contributor.
Airbnb is not a legal entity in Malaysia nor does it pays taxes for revenue earned here. While it is too early to even speculate on how this will shape up, I have a feeling governments in South-East Asia will not be as open-minded here, and for very practical reasons.
Speaking of practical, Malaysia will also start incorporating computational thinking and computer science into its national school curriculum from January next year.
With digital skills expected to be at the core of most jobs in the future, the move by Malaysia is timely. The European Union is also emphasising digital skills moving forward, as will all countries eventually.
But the focus in Malaysia is not so much on tech skills per say as in coding, robotics and what-not, but rather about computational thinking leading to students becoming better at applying the structure and logic of computer science to everyday problem-solving.
DNA readers can already see how entrepreneurs are applying digital solutions to various daily problems, but in the future, once you start getting students leaving school with computational thinking and computer science skills embedded into their thought processes, I bet we will see a lot more interesting solutions being created to solve our daily problems.
It’s going to be fun to cover those future entrepreneurs.
Again, as in the past few weeks, there have been some really interesting stories carried by DNA, and I also wrote one to wrap up our What’s Next conference coverage where Berjaya Corp founder and chairman Vincent Tan spoke about how he feels that brick-and-mortar companies will always be around.
One new business his physical outlets will be going into, and he has a total of around 5,000 stores throughout the region, is to be a drop-off/ pick-up point for e-commerce merchants. You can read more here.
Interestingly, at an e-commerce panel I was moderating yesterday (Aug 11), I learnt that this approach was called ‘last half-mile’! I had never heard of this before but trust the tech ecosystem to keep coming with snappy buzzwords.
Just to highlight two more stories: I doubt you will find a radio man as happy about the disruption that digital technology has brought to music and how it is consumed as Seelan Paul, chief executive officer of Media Prima Radio Networks.
But one industry that will be hit big by digital is insurance, and the chief executive of a listed Malaysian insurance company indicated to me as much at a recent function. And we have a story on that as well this week. I will be inviting that insurance executive to be a speaker at What’s Next 2017.
Have a restful weekend and a productive week ahead.
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