‘Tech-savvy workforce needed to spur growth’

Iskandar Malaysia Johor Chamber of Commerce and Industry feels the economic region can attract new technology investments once the pandemic is over.

JOHOR needs to start outlining the post-Covid-19 economic recovery plans to further strengthen its position as one of the leading investment destinations in the country.

Iskandar Malaysia Johor Chamber of Commerce and Industry adviser Md Salikon Sarpin said the move would be crucial once the pandemic was over.

He suggested that the economic recovery plans also include digital transformation through the use of new technologies which have accelerated during the pandemic period.

“The needs of businesses and industries all over the world have changed significantly due to the challenges brought by Covid-19 and the movement control order,’’ Salikon said when contacted.

The Johor government and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) would need to act fast to come out with talent development programmes and initiatives, he said.

“We need new talents and a tech-savvy workforce in Iskandar Malaysia if we want to attract new technologies and capital intensive investments.”

Asean was the fastest-growing Internet market in the world with 125,000 new users coming on board every day, Salikon explained.

“The Asean digital economy is projected to grow significantly, adding an estimated US$1 trillion (RM4.2 trillion) to regional gross domestic product (GDP) over the next 10 years.”

It was important, he said, for academia and industry in Iskandar Malaysia to work together to produce a technology-savvy workforce to fulfil the needs of the digital economy.

Salikon added that now was the time for the Johor Strategic Human Capital Unit look into its programmes related to human capital development, to keep up with the needs and requirements of the industries.

Johor South SME adviser Teh Kee Sin said there was a need for workers to be tech-savvy as more companies moved their businesses online.

He said the increasing use of technologies such as cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) had made organisations, businesses and companies realise the importance of having skilled IT teams.

Iskandar Malaysia has the right ecosystem to attract new technology investments, Teh said, and this would further strengthen Johor’s position as the leading investment destination in Malaysia.

The state, he added, should look at attracting new technology industries crucial to the era of a new normal, such as fintech, telecommunications, information technology, data centres and e-commerce.

Teh said demand for skilled tech workers would thus increase, but the nation was currently not producing enough of such workers.

Local public and private universities must make sure their graduates would cater for the needs of the new technology industries, he added.

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