MDEC to make Malaysia global IR 4.0 hub, says newly-appointed chief Rais Hussin

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is proposing a designated hub interconnecting Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0 or 4IR) players in Malaysia to the rest of the world.

Newly appointed chairman Datuk Dr Rais Hussin (pic) is mooting the initiative, saying a solid regulatory framework and strategic oversight were needed to set the direction.

"It will be aligned to the government's Prihatin package (implemented to help people, companies and country weather the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic) and Penjana (short-term economic revival plan) programmes," he said in a statement Tuesday (June 16).

Covid-19 had accelerated the migration of society from physical infrastructures onto digital infrastructures, he said.

"At the cusp of IR 4.0, we are blessed with the chance to re-engineer the human experiment using technologies that decentralise authority and de-emphasise divisions along the lines of colour, creed and country – what the Japanese have coined as ‘Society 5.0’.

"And Society 5.0 holds the promise to converge these environments together through the use of IR 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and fintech (financial services technology).

“I envision MDEC as playing a leading role in catalysing this transition for Malaysia and Malaysians," he said.

On June 12, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry announced Rais’ appointment as MDEC chairman for two years, effective June 15.

He has been for some years a strategist at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, and together with blockchain expert Dinis Guarda, had recently co-authored a book titled 4IR: Reinventing a Nation that was launched during the global Frankfurt book fair in October last year.

"The book was designed as a blueprint of sorts to assist governments of developing nations in their digital transformation agenda.

"Digital transformation presents both challenges and opportunities to us all. Those who succeed can use IR 4.0 technologies to create a better life for all, including new and more meaningful jobs, reskilling of the workforce, better health and education, and smarter and greener cities," he said.

Rais added that companies and households were now in a recovery mode after months of living under the movement control order (MCO), implemented since March 18 to curb Covid-19 infections.

"We are now emerging from the crisis," he said, adding that the ensuing recovery would rely largely upon a managed digital transformation towards establishing “Malaysia 5.0”, which he described as a new narrative for Malaysia as an “innovation economy” that can compete in a disruptive technology world, serve as a springboard into Asean (the Association of South-East Asian Nations), a bridge between Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and interconnect with the 1.8 billion Islamic population worldwide.

MDEC would play a leading role in introducing the emerging technologies that were essential tools in the new Malaysia 5.0 digital economy, added Rais.

“With or without the crisis, if we were to migrate into a high-wage, knowledge-based economy envisioned in the Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030, then we must give more than lip service to encourage innovation, retrain the workforce, and incentivise investment," he said.

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