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Malaysia Sets Up Southeast Asia’s First Centre to Boost 4IR

The Malaysian Government announced the establishment of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR), an independent centre within the World Economic Forum, to support the achievement of Malaysia’s overarching vision under its 4IR Policy launched in 2021, as well as the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint. The new centre aims to accelerate technology adoption that will help secure a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable growth for Malaysia as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The establishment of this centre, also the first in Southeast Asia, highlights the Malaysian Government’s commitment to prioritising technology as a key catalyst for economic growth and post-pandemic recovery, as well as supports its aspiration to be a regional leader in the digital economy.

The “C4IR” will be part of the Forum’s global network for multi-stakeholder cooperation to realise the benefits of emerging and innovative technology. Through its current network of centres globally, the C4IR is pioneering an agile and human-centred model of tech-focused policy development and implementation.

The C4IR will be officially set up and officiated by Malaysia’s Prime Minister in the second half of 2022. The C4IR establishment was announced on behalf of the Malaysian Government by Malaysia’s Minister of Finance, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Meeting held from 23 May to 26 May 2022.

Malaysia’s Minister of Finance stated that the country is accelerating its digital transformation journey, and its ability to leverage 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, renewable energies and quantum computing will be one of the leading drivers for the nation’s sustainable, resilient and inclusive economic growth in decades to come.

To this end, having the C4IR helps ensure that Malaysia’s choice of technologies and their interaction across the physical, digital and biological domains will serve humanity not just materially, but also meaningfully. As such, the Ministry of Finance looks forward to working with the relevant ministries to ensure the C4IR’s success as a platform for technological transfers and for developing local capacity as quickly as possible.

The Managing Director of the World Economic Forum stated that they forward to welcoming Malaysia to the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s global network later this year. As the first centre in Southeast Asia, C4IR Malaysia will play a critical role in leading the digital transformation in the region.

Once established, the C4IR will be managed by the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department, with programmes to be crafted and implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Communications & Multimedia and Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation.

The World Economic Forum will also continue to play a collaborative role in the operationalisation of the C4IR. Key target beneficiaries of Malaysia’s 4IR agenda include youths (e.g., through better access to learning methods and skills-enhancement powered by edutech); social enterprises (e.g., to solve socio-economic issues, facilitate digital onboarding and bridge the rural-urban digital gap); businesses (e.g., to develop industry-led and sectoral based 4IR-powered capacity) and the public sector (e.g., to leverage on big data to improve public service delivery).

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