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Expanding AI Education in Malaysia’s Public Universities

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In a session at the Dewan Negara, Senator Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran proposed a significant expansion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) courses across public universities, aligning with the anticipated transformative impact of AI technology on the future job landscape.

Senator Chandran emphasised that greater participation of higher education institutions in offering AI courses would create a more extensive platform for cultivating experts capable of addressing the challenges arising from the evolution and development of AI technology.

Citing a study conducted by the Ministry of Human Resources, which projected that approximately 4.5 million workers in the country could face job displacement by 2030 due to advancements in AI and Machine Learning (ML), Senator Chandran underscored the importance of mitigating this risk through the provision of additional AI-related educational opportunities. While acknowledging that the majority of jobs at risk are categorised as semi-skilled and unskilled, he stressed the profound impact such a shift could have on people’s livelihoods, warranting proactive measures.

These proposals were articulated during the deliberation of the Supply Bill 2024 in the Dewan Negara. Senator Chandran expressed support for the government’s initiative to establish the nation’s first Artificial Intelligence Studies Centre, housed at the Faculty of Artificial Intelligence in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). This centre, announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as part of the Budget 2024, received an initial allocation of RM20 million.

While commending the establishment of the AI Studies Centre at UTM, Senator Chandran argued for a more intensified effort, calling for the active involvement of additional public higher education institutions in providing AI courses. He believed that expanding educational offerings in the AI field could play a crucial role in reducing the projected job displacement and equipping the workforce with the necessary skills for the evolving job market.

In the context of potential job losses outlined in the Ministry of Human Resources study, Senator Chandran stressed the significance of not underestimating the impact of AI and ML advancements. He emphasised that the livelihoods of individuals were at stake, necessitating a proactive approach to skill development and education in emerging technologies.

Furthermore, Senator Chandran argued that the participation of more educational institutions in offering AI studies could have broader economic implications. He suggested that a robust educational ecosystem in AI would be an attractive factor for investors in the industry, as it would demonstrate the country’s commitment to fostering a skilled and credible talent pool capable of meeting the demands of the evolving job market.

In mid-October, Malaysia presented its 2024 budget, said to be the largest in the nation’s history, with an allocation of RM303 billion (US$64.7 billion). To fulfil fiscal obligations and decrease the deficit to 4.3%, the budget introduces significant structural changes to Malaysia’s tax system, affecting both businesses and individuals.

Notably, a capital gains tax is introduced, and there is an upswing in service tax rates. Furthermore, the government has confirmed the implementation of e-invoicing starting from 1 August 2024 and the adoption of the global minimum tax in 2025. These measures signify a comprehensive approach to fiscal management, aiming to enhance revenue streams, streamline tax processes, and align with global taxation standards.

Senator Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran’s proposals centre around the crucial role of education in mitigating the potential negative impacts of AI and ML advancements on the job market. By advocating for an expanded offering of AI courses in public universities, he aims to not only address the challenges posed by technological developments but also position the country as an attractive destination for investments in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence.


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