THE unveiling of the much-anticipated Digital Economic Blueprint, or MyDigital, last Friday was a truly momentous occasion that is applauded and welcomed by the technology industry.
It goes beyond just digitising and digitalising the economy; it also plots a comprehensive roadmap for the government, enterprises – big, medium, small and micro – as well as the rakyat to thrive in this new digital economy that is already before us.
The blueprint details the plan to transform Malaysia into a digitally-enabled and technology-driven high-income nation, and to become a regional lead in digital economy. This bold vision resonates strongly with me.
The whole-of-nation approach by the government to ensure digital inclusiveness for Malaysians will empower and instil confidence for the rakyat to quickly embrace digital tools and platforms, equipping them with skill sets to navigate a digital landscape for added avenues to strive for improved social well-being.
Creating the environment that can enable this digital embrace at a large scale and nationwide is a role that only our government can facilitate. Indeed, this is a much needed policy direction is critical to rally the nation to truly achieve full digital transformation while also acting as an economic catalyst to recover strongly from the malaise of the current pandemic.
Implementing this 10-year plan will be a fine balancing act between building a digital technology foundation for future sustainability and committing our investment and resources on the right technology infrastructure and solutions, while mobilising our very diverse society to learn, adapt and embrace the skill sets and knowledge to achieve social and digital inclusiveness through effective use of technologies.
How successful we are in striking this balance will determine our success as a digital economy, and a regional digital leader that we envision. This is by no means an easy feat.
The government, rightfully, is showing the way. The clear statement of intent is demonstrated in the targets it has set for itself: 100% digital literacy among civil servants, 80% end-to-end online government services, cashless payment options as well as 80% cloud storage across the government.
Instructive for the private sector, the latter will become a strong impetus for the next wave of growth on data centre capacity, including the hyperscale iteration.
As at 2019, total colocation data centre fitted capacity only stood at 59MW compared with 410MW in Singapore.
Although this domestic capacity is expected to grow by 12% CAGR till 2024, it will only bring us to a total of 104MW.
The government’s MyDigital cloud storage target will radically transform this outlook.
With government baselining the effort, the private sector will no doubt take the cue and join the bandwagon – from financial institutions and large enterprises to even micro, small and medium enterprises.
Another game-changer is the National Digital Identity implementation to improve security, service delivery and convenience and accelerating digital signature implementation across public sector online services to enable end-to-end digital transactions.
This will not only further accelerate the realisation of a digital government, facilitate inclusivity and reduce cost of access to public services, but also ensure that we are creating a digital economy that is safe and secure for all Malaysians.
The success of any modern-day free-market socioeconomic policy must necessarily predicate on an effective public-private collaboration, and there is tremendous opportunities for just that under MyDigital.
Whether it is eCommerce adoption by MSMEs or increasing the number of start-ups to 5,000, the facilitation and support by the government will help to attract both domestic and foreign investment towards the RM70bil target, create new employment towards fulfilling the 500,000 jobs target and even enabling online learning for our students. It is a win-win-win proposition.
The private sector can also play an important role in creating an inclusive digital society.
One good example is the provision of electronic payment onboarding programme for both merchants and consumers towards a cashless society and we certainly have ample capabilities and capacity to offer comprehensive end-to-end solutions such as, a wallet-as-a-service or WaaS.
In the last five years, the accelerated digital adoption rate has seen businesses and even public sector universities commit to organise their own payment facility that is fully customisable to its needs, with features such as electronic know-your-customer or eKYC management, online and in-store payment, and money transfer.
An inclusive digital society will also further facilitate better access for vulnerable groups such as the B40, women, small and micro merchants, among others.
As they are typically unbanked, adaptation of digital financial solutions into their lives can help bridge that digital gap to achieve not just digital inclusiveness but also financial inclusion for more Malaysians.
The digital gap in our society is a pressing issue that we are facing right now and not a future problem to be solved.
The way I see it, the private sector must fully embrace and collaborate with the government to deliver and meet the targets set in MyDigital.
As a leading technology enterprise, our complete digital business proposition covering infrastructure, platforms, solutions, ventures and skills academy, as well as channels that engage government, enterprises and consumers, mean we are well-placed to participate fully and partner with the government in delivering the vision of MyDigital.
Incidentally, one of the objectives of MyDigital to nurture an integrated ecosystem that allows society to embrace digital economy is aligned with our Massive Transformative Purpose to ensure every human thrives with life-improving digital innovations.
The call has been sounded and we are fully prepared to step up and be counted.
CC Puan is Group managing director and CEO of Green Packet. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.