Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation in all aspects of life, says PM

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has shared three solutions with its Asean partners on how the digital ecosystem should be reshaped in a way that ensures inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, which had filled every aspect of people's lives besides altering economic, social and structural domains.

“This pandemic has led to the rise of digital technologies which have supported governments and businesses in adopting agile and adaptive responses.

“The essential question is how do we harness these technologies for future preparation of our businesses and people while cushioning disruptive transitions,” he said in his keynote address at the Asean Business Investment Summit 2021.

The Prime Minister said it is imperative for every Asean state to have an accessible and affordable digital infrastructure for all.

Malaysia, he said, aimed to be a digitally-enabled, technology-driven, high-income economy by enhancing digital infrastructure for seamless and extensive connectivity, adding that through the National Digital Network (Jendela) action plan with an allocation of US$6.7bil (RM27.8bil), this aspiration is being actualised.

“Promoting digital literacy among our people is equally important. Under the 12th Malaysia Plan, Malaysia plans to develop future-ready digital talents through up-skilling and re-skilling digital literacy and expanding industrial training.

“These efforts are meant to develop more digitally-ready talent among Malaysians. Through this whole-of-society approach, we firmly believe that more people will be able to equip and upgrade themselves with the necessary for growth,” he said.

Ismail Sabri also pointed out that the gap in digital skills across the Asean region must be brought closer, adding that this was important for better cooperation and prosperity among member states.

The Prime Minister said that encouraging micro, small and medium enterprises to be digitally ready can also help Asean prepare to enjoy sustainable and resilient growth.

He said these enterprises that are lacking in access to technologies face great risks of being left behind in the post-pandemic era, pointing out the urgency to boost digital-ready across Asean’s micro, small and medium enterprises.

For this, Malaysia has intensified policy interventions, specifically targeting to expand the breadth and depth of digitalisation adoption by this sector, he said, adding that this approach was crucial as Malaysia’s MSMEs accounted for more than 90% of businesses in Asean economies.

“Successful adoption of digital technologies is crucial for our consistent revitalisation and sustainable economic recovery,” he said.

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