Tengku Zafrul: Embrace AI to achieve significant productivity improvements

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has the potential to greatly improve productivity through the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), surpassing the benefits of digitalisation, said Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

He said AI’s potential to simplify complex and mundane tasks boosts productivity and opens doors to creativity and strategic thinking.

Alongside AI is the move to enhance research and development (R&D) to increase economic complexity by producing and delivering competitive products and services, enabling companies and economies to participate in higher-value global chains, he said.

"In R&D, process innovation is as important as product innovation and critical to boosting productivity. Our competitors are fast catching up to us, we cannot afford to be unproductive,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Productivity Report 2024 by the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) here today.

The text of his speech was read out by MITI secretary-general Datuk Hairil Yahri Yaacob.

Tengku Zafrul highlighted that technology, regulation, and talent are critical drivers of productivity which is the essence of the Productivity Report 2024.

He noted that the report recommends governments at all levels embrace good regulatory practice (GRP) and have the ease of doing business mindset, minimising shocks and unpredictability in regulatory compliance.

"Businesses must embrace modern management and technology to reduce fixed and marginal costs.

"At the same time, they must value and reward employees who continuously upskill or reskill, ensuring their competencies stay relevant in our rapidly evolving landscape,” said the minister.

Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul stressed that a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach is essential to address the multifaceted factors influencing competitiveness.

These include talent management, public service delivery, digitalisation improvements, and the management of both the domestic economy and international trade, he said.

Themed "Driving Malaysia’s Productivity”, the report noted that the country’s 2023 labour productivity per employee was positive, moderated to 0.9 per cent compared with 2022’s jump of 5.4 per cent.

It said the country’s productivity level increased to RM96,692 per employee in 2023, rising slightly from RM95,858 in 2022. - Bernama

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