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New Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint unveiled

Image Credits: Digital News Asia, Article

On 19 February 2021, the Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint or MyDigital was unveiled as the foundation for Malaysia’s transformation into a “regional digital pulse” by 2030.

Speaking in a virtual press briefing the Prime Minister stated that MyDigital is expected to be executed via the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, which will comprise three phases. Anticipating concerns over possible overlaps with existing plans, the Prime Minister noted that the blueprint complements other national development plans such as the 12th Malaysia Plan and the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 announced earlier.

The PM noted, “MyDigital will empower Malaysians from Perlis to Sabah, improving their lives in every aspect. It encompasses ideas and plans to increase digital literacy, creating high-income jobs, improving banking and finances, gaining better digital access to education and medical services in rural towns.”

MyDigital is expected to create 500,000 new job opportunities in the digital economy, which is expected to contribute 22.6% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

Moreover, the government will assist 875,000 micro-enterprises and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs and SMEs) to go digital via e-commerce. These initiatives will also catalyse 5,000 start-ups within the next five years. The initiative will also be the starting point to draw in RM70 billion in international and domestic digital investments and the government is targeting a 30% increase in productivity by 2030.

To accelerate innovation, and the creation of an efficient digital ecosystem, the PM said that four important digital infrastructure projects under MyDigital need to be strengthened. These efforts will be implemented through public-private partnerships, where the private sector will lead the way via capital and skills injection.

A total of RM21 billion will be invested over five years through the national digital infrastructure plan (JENDELA) to strengthen existing connectivity. This optical fibre network is set to cover almost 100% of populated areas in stages, from 7.5 million premises by the end of 2022 to 9 million premises by the end of 2025.

Secondly, a total of RM1.65 billion will be invested by several telcos to strengthen international submarine cable network connectivity by 2023. This will open doors for faster and more stable data transfers and is expected to lower Internet costs to consumers.

Thirdly, a total of RM15 billion will be invested over the next 10 years for the implementation of 5G nationwide. This will create approximately 105,000 job opportunities. The effort will be implemented through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under the Malaysian government.

The SPV will be given the spectrum to manage and all licensed telecommunication companies will have equal access to infrastructure to market 5G services to their customers.”

Meanwhile, between RM12 billion and RM15 billion is expected to be invested by cloud service providers (CSP) over the next five years. The government has given conditional permission to four CSP companies – Microsoft Corp, Google Inc, Amazon Inc and Telekom Malaysia (TM) – to build and manage hyper-scale data centres and cloud services in the country.

The government has also proposed the appointment of three local ICT companies as managed service providers (MSPs) to work and manage services for public sector agencies, in line with the desire to strengthen the capabilities of local companies.

As a measure to strengthen the public sector’s computing services, the government – through a ‘Cloud First’ strategy – is targeting the migration of 80% of public data to a hybrid cloud system by the end of 2022.

This strategy can reduce government costs in the long-term, the PM noted. Cloud services will also allow big data, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and other applications to strengthen government services.

The Prime Minister added that the construction of this digital infrastructure will form the backbone of a sustainable digital ecosystem, which will serve as the main engine of sustainable economic growth. Going forward, the government will continue to strengthen this ecosystem in several ways.

This includes fostering a regulatory environment the supports digital use while protecting the privacy of citizens; administering public data sources so that they can be jointly utilised by public and private organisations and to facilitate the evolution of the labour market in industries that are likely to be disrupted by automation and digital technology.

Muhyiddin also stressed that cybersecurity and data privacy are among the government’s primary focuses in realising the country’s vision of digital technology.

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