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Malaysia and Japan to boost digital economy agreement

Malaysia and Japan are reportedly exploring specific measures that aim to promote technological renovation and innovation within the region.

The two nations will collaborate to develop a concrete strategy centred around cultivating highly-skilled human resources to provide an edge over other nations.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister (PM) stated that Malaysia hopes for more and closer cooperation in terms of the digital economy with Japan in the future, as Japan has a lead position in smart manufacturing and innovative technological processes.

He noted that while the Japanese companies operating in Malaysia have absorbed some of these developments, by and large, the adoption by Malaysian companies happening at a slow pace. This is an area for Malaysia to rely on Japan’s expertise and proven track record, the PM noted.

Malaysia and Japan had their discussions during the 37th MAJECA-JAMECA joint conference in Kuala Lumpur on 1 July 2019.

The Malaysia-Japan Economic Association (MAJECA) and the Japan-Malaysia Economic Association (JAMECA) are essentially private sector institutions which originated from the call of the governments of both Malaysia and Japan for greater interaction between the two nations.

This year’s conference is structured on the theme of expanding trade and investments between Malaysia and Japan through the adoption of innovative technologies including digital technologies.

The Malaysian PM said that digital technologies are undeniably disrupting the way of life and business, creating a borderless world market in which industrial processes will soon become obsolete.

Malaysia needs to innovate and automate in order to remain competitive in challenging market systems of the current time. Hence, the country must restructure its business and industrial ecosystems to meet the needs of the future with the adoption and application of digital and innovative technologies, coupled with effective management and high value-added skills of our talents.

Moreover, Malaysia needs to look into new sectors that will boost growth. This window of opportunity for the nations help them improve their partnership.

Malaysia is also working closely with neighbouring countries to promote regional development. It is hoped that Malaysians will work with Japanese personnel in Japan with the aim of learning from Japanese work ethic.

Investing in Malaysia will also help Japan to expand its market into the ASEAN region. Japanese investment in high-tech fields and areas which can contribute to developing the manufacturing sector, as well as cultivation of human resources, are expected.

According to the PM, Japan has become among the largest investors in Malaysia following the formation of MAJECA and JAMECA, which has, in turn, contributed greatly towards making Malaysia a leading electrical and electronics goods exporter.

The fact that there are over 1,500 Japanese firms operating here is a testimony to the success of the collaboration between the two countries, he added.

However, global trends in trade and industrialisation are in constant flux. Malaysia’s competitiveness in terms of earlier strategic advantages needs reassessment. Coupled with the fact that there is an emphasis on the various aspects of the digital economy and the impact of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0), there is a dire need to review past successes for us to devise future strategies.

Since the launch of Malaysia’s Blueprint for Industry Forward (Industry4WRD) in October 2018, the government has committed RM210 million from 2019 to 2021 to support the transition and migration to IR4.0.

Under the Industry4WRD fund, targeted efforts will be rolled out for human capital development, technology adoption and infrastructure upgrades, which will be the foundation of driving IR4.0 in the country.

In the context of e-commerce, the establishment of the National e-Commerce Council in December 2015 has accelerated the country’s e-commerce development and growth, including the formation of the Digital Free Trade Zone which will empower local entrepreneurs to export to global markets.

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