Harnessing tech key to Asean growth

PUTRAJAYA: While digital integration has enabled Asean to harness its collective competitiveness in the global economy, divergences in technological readiness must be addressed to ensure inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth, said the Prime Minister.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the region cannot disregard the speed and scale of changes that is resulting in the widening of inequalities across nations.

He pointed out that the pandemic has led to the rise of digital technologies, which have supported governments and businesses in adopting agile and adaptive responses.

“While we can agree that digital integration has enabled Asean to harness its collective competitiveness and foster domestic growth, connectivity remains elusive.

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

The Prime Minister shared some of Malaysia’s initiatives, including the building of digital infrastructure, and stressed it is imperative for every Asean state to foster a truly accessible and affordable digital infrastructure for all.

Malaysia, he said, had taken efforts to improve the foundational infrastructure with the launching of the Malaysian Digital Blueprint initiative.

In promoting digital literacy, Malaysia is focusing on developing future-ready digital talents and putting in place measures to up-skill and re-skill workforce digital literacy, he said.

“Efforts must be taken to close the gap in digital skills across Asean. This is crucial for better cooperation and prosperity among member states,” he said.

The Prime Minister also pointed out the need to boost digital readiness among micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and that Malaysia has intensified policy interventions to expand the breadth and depth of digitalisation adoption by the sector players.

MSMEs account for more than 90% of businesses in Asean economies.

Aside from addressing the Asean meet, the Prime Minister also announced today’s disbursement of the one-off RM500 Loss of Income (BKP) financial aid.

He said the assistance will involve an allocation of RM430mil to ensure the well-being of the Malaysian Family and will benefit close to 870,000 persons who lost their sources of income this year.

Checks can be made on BKP approval status via the BKP portal at https://bkp.hasil.gov.my.

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