‘Advancement must include the poor’

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s push towards digital economy, advancement and technologies must benefit all and not lead to inequality, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The PKR president said while the government continued to engineer new programmes or reforms, it had to be towards meritocracy and sophistication in the related industries.

“Now we talk about diversity and inclusiveness,” he said, adding that the country should not ignore the plight of the poor in its pursuit of progress.

“Whether they are Malays, Chin­ese, Ibans and Indians, it doesn’t matter. The poor and the marginalised are human beings.

“It should not be because of their colour or religious beliefs.

“The focus while we continue to engineer this new programme or reforms has to be towards meritocracy and sophistication in these related industries,” he said in his speech at the Digital Native Agenda (DNA23) Digital Dialogue Series on Funding Diversity programme.

DNA23 is aimed at recognising challenges and seizing opportunities in the digital world.

Anwar also said the government should not forget the plight of the poor in its bid to push the country forward.

“Another cause of concern is that it must not lead to inequality in the country.

“You’ve heard about diversity. There is strength in all of us if we are given adequate opportunity,” he added.

Anwar reiterated his support for the government’s efforts in improving technology such as DNA23.

“We need to keep reminding ourselves that it must be done cautiously, knowing the diversity here.

“They need to recognise the importance of all racial groups – rural and urban – that could be utilised as a source of strength instead of weakness.

“Such efforts must also create a bond of unity among Malaysians rather than divide,” he said.

Later at a press conference, Anwar said the renegotiated East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project would further boost relations between Malaysia and China.

Asked for his views on the ECRL negotiations, he said: “Generally, the government is satisfied but we have to move on with other bilateral issues, trade and investments.”

The project now costs RM44bil after renegotiation. This construction cost was brought down by RM22bil, which is almost a third of the original cost of RM66bil.

Its new deadline for completion is Dec 31, 2026. This is an extension of two and a half years from the original date of June 20, 2024.



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