With digitization and the digital economy becoming a mainstay for countries across the globe, there have been several interventions across ASEAN to facilitate the same. One country that has been extremely vocal and committed to driving digitalization has been Malaysia with its MyDIGITAL initiative. MyDIGITAL is a national initiative which symbolizes the aspirations of the Government to successfully transform Malaysia into a digitally-driven, high income nation and a regional leader in the digital economy. Thus, the country’s focus is not only on augmenting its digital capabilities, but to embrace digitalization across all aspects of the economy, bridging the digital divide and facilitating economic growth, becoming a digital leader in ASEAN. This article will uncover the current state of Malaysia’s digitalization, as a foundation for its ambitious dreams, the vision of MyDIGITAL and key interventions planned to realize the same.
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Digital Economy Landscape for Malaysia
The current digital landscape of Malaysia clearly illustrates the potential it has to achieve its goals set under MyDIGITAL:
- 90.1% households have internet connections
- 70.2% mobile subscriptions are 4G
- 93.1% population use smartphone to access the internet
- 88.8% of urban households and 80.4% of urban households have access to mobile broadband
- 90% of government services are online
- RM16 billion eCommerce market value in Malaysia
- 44% of MSMEs are using cloud computing
- 50% of MSMEs are using some form of data analytics
- 35%of MSMEs have deployed Internet of Things (IoT) solutions
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Key Targets for MyDIGITAL
MyDIGITAL seeks to create a three-fold impact to facilitate digital society, digital businesses and a digitally-enabled government. For each of these segments, the country has laid out specific targets to guide the interventions:
- Creation of 500,000 new jobs
- 100% household with internet access
- 30% uplift in productivity across all sectors by 2030
- 875,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt eCommerce
- RM70 billion investment in digitalisation
- Increase the number of start-ups to 5,000
- 100% civil servants to possess digital literacy
- 80% end-to-end online government services
- 80% usage of cloud storage across the government in 2022
Three Phase Approach for MyDIGITAL
These ambitious goals for a hi-tech Malaysia have been strategically segmented into 3 phases for seamless implementation. The roadmap illustrates how Malaysia seeks to go from building a digital foundation to becoming a digital solutions provider.
Phase 1: 2021-2022
Accelerate adoption towards strengthening the digital foundation
Focus on data and digital intelligence, coupled with a conducive regulatory framework and acceleration of infrastructure development to facilitate technology use across all levels.
Phase 2: 2023-2025
Drive digital transformation and inclusion
Promote extensive use of e-government infrastructure with a competent and agile workforce to promote equitable digital growth, supported by increased trust, privacy and agility in regulations.
Phase 3: 2026-2030
Become a regional market producer for digital products and digital solutions provider
Facilitate data and digitalization at the center of governance and administration, focusing on high ease of doing business, supported by quality digital talent and cybersecurity awareness.
Strategic Thrust Areas
Malaysia’s MyDIGITAL plan is based on six thrust areas each of which has national and sectoral initiatives. Here is a quick snapshot of the thrust areas as identified under the initiative:
- Drive digital transformation in the public sector
- Build enabling digital infrastructure
- Boost economic competitiveness through digitalization
- Build agile and competent digital talent
- Build trusted, secure and ethical digital environment
- Create an inclusive digital society
Increase the adoption of digital business models in agriculture to facilitate cost cutting and augment the use of digital marketplaces for sales of farmers by:
- Promotion of smart farm adoption via a centralized data platform
- Create farm to table digital marketplaces
Facilitate the deployment of new technologies across the supply chains and increase the access of such technologies for MSMEs by:
- Establishing technology labs and collaborative platforms
- Curating nationalized programs for manufacturing subsectors
Reduce impediments in healthcare product commercialization and create leaner operations in healthcare by:
- Facilitating rapid adoption of technology frameworks in healthcare
- Increasing the adoption of Blockchain for use of Malaysia Health Data Warehouse
Promote smart mobility for people and goods along with efficient clearance in logistics services by:
- Creating a centralized and open transport database
- Accelerating implementation of ubiquitous customs (uCustoms) system
The Technology Behind MyDIGITAL
The above mentioned thrust areas and sectoral initiatives have their foundation is adoption of key technologies and their deployment across initiatives as a part of MyDIGITAL. The key technologies leading MyDIGITAL at Malaysia are:
A focus on cloud-first strategy to go paperless and adopt digital workflows. 80% public data migration to hybrid cloud by end 2022.
Enhance digital infrastructure and connectivity with a low latency network to facilitate deployment of broadband across urban and rural centers. $3.7 billion to be invested in 5G over the next 10 years.
Way Forward for Digital Malaysia
With ambitious goals, a firm commitment from the leaders and investments underway, Malaysia is all set to become a regional digital leader. To unlock the opportunities being presented by MyDIGITAL, the country must focus on a few building blocks including:
- Building a digital-first mindset and increasing digital adoption in the public sector
- Creating a more supportive ecosystem for local digitalization
- Investing in the quality of broadband and digital infrastructure
- Checking the digital divide and facilitating needs based interventions
- Fostering trust in technology and data privacy among citizens
Focusing on these will enable Malaysia to be a digitally-driven, high income nation and a regional leader in the digital economy. Digitalization at an accelerated pace will help the country unlock a high standard of living for its society, inclusive growth and a mark on the world map as a digital leader.
Stay tuned to this space for more updates on Malaysia’s MyDIGITAL progress and developments in digital transformation across ASEAN.