KUALA LUMPUR: Cash is no longer king – data is – in today’s technology-driven world.
According to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, it is important for Malaysia to leverage on new technologies in this era of digital economy to advance further economically and socially.
“When you talk about the digital economy, it is all about data... the previous government probably got it wrong when it said ‘Cash is king’,” Lim said.
“Cash is not king; data is king. So, when data is king, we not only have to have access, but also have to understand as well as leverage on this new platform,” he told a press conference after officiating at the SCxSC Fintech Conference 2018 here yesterday.
Now in its fifth year, the annual conference is organised by the Securities Commission (SC) to discuss and explore fintech ideas in the capital market.
In his keynote address at the conference, Lim said the government expects the digital economy to form 20% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. This would be an increase from 18.2% in 2016.
“We recognise the importance of developing the digital economy. Therefore, despite the fiscal challenges the government faces, we are committed to investing significant resources in nurturing the digital economy,” Lim said in his speech.
He noted that the digital economy, if harnessed properly, could become the next economic engine for Malaysia through the opening up of new avenues for growth. This, he said, would aid Malaysia in becoming a developed economy.
However, he stressed, developing the digital economy could not remain solely the role of the government.
“The entrepreneurial state model prescribes a collaborative approach by relying on the 4P partnership, involving the public, private, professionals and the people to manage and steer specific initiatives,” Lim explained.
“Hence, we are exploring new funding mechanisms that would incorporate stronger collaboration with the private sector,” he said.
These mechanisms would include streamlining venture capital funds managed by government agencies and an allocation of RM2bil by government-linked investment companies to co-invest in strategic and new growth sectors with private equity and venture capital funds.
“Various technologies are converging and the convergence is giving us new tools we can use to address old and new problems that beset businesses, the government and society at large,” Lim said.
He noted that some of the latest technology involving artificial intelligence and big data that are part of Industry 4.0 have already been applied in domestic retail, marketing and transport industries.
“The wider adoption of these latest technology is important for Malaysia to break away from the middle-income trap and start roaring again as a proud Asian Tiger,” he said.