January 24, 2021

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Malaysia looking to nuture tech leaders

The government aims to produce more policymakers and leaders among technical professionals to ensure that the country’s direction is in line with current technological developments. The Prime Minister stated that Malaysia’s technology-based agencies and companies must be helmed by technical professionals.

He said to strengthen the profession, reforms should start from the early stages of education. For a start, the government is striving to strengthen the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (education) and Technical Education and Vocational Training graduates.

Students and youth need to be encouraged to make this field their future career choice, not only to meet the country’s industrial future needs but also to produce a viable technical profession in line with global developments, especially the Industrial Revolution 4.0, he said in an address in conjunction with the National Technical Profession Day celebration yesterday, aired on Radio Televisyen Malaysia’s Selamat Pagi Malaysia programme.

The PM said the younger generation’s interest in technical fields, especially engineering, which is often associated with the terms “dirty, difficult and dangerous” (3D), must be nurtured. These fields would offer more job opportunities in the near future.

Technical field graduates are expected to become a hit in the job market in the future. Future trends indicate that (jobs in) technology-related fields will become high-demand professions. The use of the latest technologies will turn this ‘3D image’ into a prestigious one because the technical profession requires deep knowledge and expertise, he said.

The Prime Minister said Malaysia has many world-class technology-based companies, where the majority of employees are in the technical profession. This is the result of the government’s careful and decades-long planning to produce a skilled technical professional workforce.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister launched the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) on 19 December 2020 to accelerate and transform Malaysia into a high-tech and high-income nation. The NTIS is one of the key initiatives announced under the Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).

The PM stated that NTIS can accelerate the country’s economic growth opportunities through the use of disruptive technology. It is one of the ways for the country to accelerate its economic growth through the use of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, drone technology, sensor technology and 5G infrastructure in its mission to resolve issues beleaguering the country.

Among the issues include those related to dependence on foreign labour, food security risk, health care, unequal access to the internet and the digital divide. The government through the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) has set aside RM100 million in funds for NTIS to fast-track the development and commercialisation of advanced projects especially those with the highest potential to boost key sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, education, travel and tourism.

This, according to the PM, will subsequently reduce the country’s dependency on technology and innovation from other countries apart from increasing productivity as well as the quality of life among the people. He added several pilot projects have been identified to kick-start the NTIS. Among them is the Farm Assist Robot for Multi Operation (FARMO Robot) for the agriculture sector, Rehabilitation Robotics for hospitals and Linear Robotics for the use in the manufacturing sector.

The launch of the NTIS comes at the right time since many countries around the world, including Malaysia, are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. As the country is in the process of recovering from the pandemic, the importance of the NTIS is undeniable and reflects the government’s commitment to revive the country’s economic growth through innovation and sophisticated technology development.

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