Cabinet approves IR 4.0 council to accelerate digital economy

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has approved the National 4IR and Digital Council to steer socio-economic development of the country through the use of technologies.

Addressing Bursa Malaysia’s Invest Malaysia 2020 – Virtual Series 3 here today, International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said the council will be chaired by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

The council will provide “policy leadership” on matters regarding the fourth industrial revolution (IR 4.0) and digitalisation, he said.

“With the formation of the council, the way forward to accelerate the growth of the economy will go in tandem with the adoption of artificial intelligence, robotics, drone and sensor technologies while synergising the capabilities of infrastructure.

“The National Digital Infrastructure Plan (Jendela), unveiled on Saturday, is therefore the most timely and central towards our transition into 5G wireless technology and will pave the way to strengthen digital connectivity and close the digital divide in Malaysia,” he said.

Azmin said the government will also focus on increasing the supply of local talent with high skills by forming sandboxes to produce a “talent pool”.

This will drive research and development, innovation and high-tech entrepreneurship, and reduce the country’s dependency on foreign workers.

He said the issues of safeguarding national security, strategic national interests and economic growth will continue to be monitored amid the South China Sea conflicts, US-China trade war, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The advancing of Malaysia’s 5G coupled with the implementation of Industry 4.0 (IR 4.0) is indeed the way forward to push technology adoption and digital transformation so crucial to propel our economic trajectory.

“This has to be a concerted effort by all relevant stakeholders including the GLCs (government-linked companies), SMEs (small to medium enterprises), MNCs (multinational corporations) and financial institutions working hand in glove with the government agencies,” he said.

Azmin also said the ministry had recently obtained reports showing a rise in the country’s exports for the second month in a row.

It recorded an expansion of 3.1% from last year on higher shipments of manufactured goods and agricultural commodities, namely palm oil.

He said Malaysia’s trade surplus widened to a “historical high” of RM21.15 billion last month, surpassing the previous record of RM20.9 in June.

As of June, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) was reviewing 725 projects valued at RM36.7 billion, and monitoring 141 high-profile leads with potential investments of RM72.6 billion, he said.

He said Mida also facilitated 86 companies from various countries, and closed deals on 32 projects with investments worth RM17.5 billion to relocate or redeploy activities to Malaysia.

Azmin also said the latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting concluded with Malaysia and other Apec economies agreeing to uninterrupted flows of essential goods across borders.

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