2017 Is Set To Be ‘The Year of The Internet Economy’
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged all Malaysians to embrace the digital revolution in anticipation of ‘The Year of the Internet Economy’ in 2017.
The Prime Minister highlighted five strategic catalysts that will spur the digital economy – physical microcosms, risk capital funding, connectivity, talent and regulatory framework.
Of the five catalysts, the Prime Minister took interest in the creation of physical microcosms. It is a cluster or community of digital hubs that allow a new breed of Internet economy, such as start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs to connect, converge, share and create ideas.
It is crucial to prioritise the creation of these digital hubs for these “born-digital” companies. This can be done with the Communications and Multimedia Ministry ensuring a simpler and faster approval process for the hubs, he said.
“A new category under the MSC Foreign Knowledge Worker will also be introduced to complement the setting up of Malaysia Digital Hubs. The new category will be called the Tech Foreign Knowledge Entrepreneur that will facilitate the entry of global entrepreneurs into Malaysia,” he added.
In 2015, the digital economy has contributed 17.8% of the Gross Domestic Product, nearing the country’s target in 2020 of 18.2%.
“We have almost hit the 18.2% target which we set for 2020. In light of this achievement, we must continue the good work and strive for higher goals. With just a short three years away, we are confident of exceeding our target,” the Prime Minister said in his closing remarks after chairing the 28th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting.
To leverage on this, Malaysians are encouraged to embrace, adapt to changes and explore new areas of growth to accelerate the economy.
“Digital revolution is upon us at lightning speed, so we must embrace and adapt to change,” he added.
The sentiment was also shared by DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Albern Murty in his recent speech at The Star SMEBiz Think Tank Seminar 2016.
He said that the digital revolution had empowered societies, catalysed economic development and levelled the playing field for established and new companies, and hence, SMEs cannot afford to ignore the digital change taking place today.
According to MSC Malaysia’s record, the new digital economy has received RM304 million in investments since its inception and created close to 160,000 jobs, a 16% increase from the last year.
Currently, there are only some 350 data scientists. By 2020, Najib said that the country would need 20,000 data professionals and 2,000 data scientists.
Moving forward, efforts would be doubled to develop data scientists via formal university initiatives and professional development.