Following last week's feature At a Glance: Digital Malaysia Rewind 2017, Computerworld Malaysia asked government agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to talk about its overarching strategies for 2018.
While most 'Look Ahead' industry strategy commentaries aim to identify what is likely to happen in the coming year, MDEC said it is taking an increasingly proactive approach to driving the national Digital Malaysia plan.
At first glance, Digital Malaysia appears to be a complex matrix - that is, until the connections between the dots are made, said MDEC's chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.
Yasmin said MDEC is focused on keeping Malaysia on a development trajectory infused with "local digital innovation and talent while attracting and engaging with global ICT companies to boost cutting edge digital and creative solutions in the country."
Early 2018 trend analysis pieces - such as Forbes - rate artificial intelligence, online community interaction, and social learning as important trends in the coming year.
Boost to digital transformation
The recent 29th Malaysia Implementation Council meeting (ICM) had already picked up on many of these trends with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announcing a new stream of initiatives to boost nationwide digital transformation.
Photo (official): 29th Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting (From left to right) Prime Minister Dato' Seri Haji Mohammad Najib Razak; with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Chairman Tan Sri Sidek Hassan; and MDEC CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.
With an eye on driving Malaysia's Digital Economy to a higher level, Najib's wide-ranging announcements included a national artificial intelligence framework, digital accelerators, new company builder tech startup funds from Mountain Partners Europe and Bridge IP Japan, as well as new digital transformation acceleration programmes for mid-tier companies.
"We notice that there is a strategic shift in investments," Najib pointed out. "Where we used to be a base for shared services, MNCs are now using Malaysia as a hub for catalytic digital technology and services. One such example is French company Dassault Systemes, a world leader in 3D design, who has chosen Malaysia to host their Global Development Centre for 3D Business Experience Platform."
Local ICT industry leaders also generally welcomed the Budget 2018 proposals delivered on Friday 27 October 2017.
The Budget 2018 allocation of RM280.25 billion meant an increase of RM19.45 billion over the 2017 budget allocation of RM260.8 billion, said the prime minister who is also the finance minister.
Najib said the Budget has eight core thrusts with one of the objectives being to increase Malaysia's income per capita to RM42,777 by 2018. "During the first half of 2017, the economy recorded a sterling growth of 5.7 percent. The World Bank has revised upwards Malaysia's GDP forecast from 4.9 to 5.2 percent for 2017 and commended the country's economic performance for its laudable policies."