Mida will continue to be relevant in next 50 years
SECOND part of excerpts from an exclusive interview with Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud.
Q: On the digital economy front, where will Malaysia likely sit in the global value chain? A: Malaysia has a high Internet penetration and is located in the heart of Asean, linking businesses to over 620 million consumers in the region. As the government is putting in place many initiatives to propel the digital economy in the country, new growth sectors, such as e-commerce, will play a more prominent role in developing Malaysia’s technology and logistics infrastructure.
The Digital Free Trade Zone, or DFTZ, will accelerate Malaysia’s digital roadmap and could double the ecommerce growth from 10.8 to 20.8 per cent by 2020.
With two physical zones and one virtual zone, the DFTZ will ease access to cross-border infrastructure, remove complex trade regulations and processes, and foster knowledge-sharing among domestic or small and medium ecommerce players.
We expect to see an increasing trend of companies, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), adopting digital business models, whereby SME export growth will be doubled and 60,000 job opportunities created by 2025.
Under the National e-Commerce Strategic Roadmap, Mida has been mandated as the lead agency to transform Malaysia into a regional e-fufilment hub.
To date, three companies — YCH Logistics (M) Sdn Bhd, Pos Malaysia Bhd and SnT Global Logistics Sdn Bhd — were approved to undertake e-fulfilment projects with total approved investments of RM100.09 million. These projects are meant to cater to the diverse needs of various local and global e-merchants in the country.
We continue to facilitate and engage with potential local logistics companies to venture into the e-fulfilment sector. We are also encouraging these companies to invest in information and communication technology systems, such as smart logistics and warehouse management systems, to enable them to be more competitive by handling complex and full fledge e-fulfilment activities.
Q: As Mida celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, how have the experiences prepared it for the challenges ahead?
A: Mida has been relevant in the country’s growth for the past 50 years and will still be relevant for the next 50 years. Our senior leadership and colleagues have put in a lot of effort in helping the government come up with suitable policies and infrastructure for further growth over the years.
The international investment landscape has changed a lot in recent times. Many countries are stepping up their investment promotion activities, including our neighbours in Asean. Hence, Mida is facing this challenge head on by improving our services and intensifying our engagement efforts with investors and other stakeholders.
The organisation is also undergoing a restructuring process, not just internally, but our mandate and purview have also been expanded.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Mida was the only agency dealing with investors while working together with state agencies and the Economic Planning Unit.
However, in current times, in pursuing the agenda of economic transformation and converting the country into a developed nation, the government has introduced new entities with specific responsibilities that are either geographical or sectoral.
With each entity comes a broad mandate within which some roles involve assisting investors. Due to that, Mida has an added responsibility of playing the role of coordinator to ensure these entities present a uniform image of the country.
Malaysia’s continued competitiveness is now dependent on strengthening the manufacturing and services sectors and accelerating
The international investment landscape has changed a lot in recent times. Many countries are stepping up their investment promotion activities, including our neighbours in Asean.
the shift to high valueadded, high-technology, knowledge-intensive and innovationbased industries. The availability of talents with the right skills is one of the critical enablers towards this goal.
Being the first point of contact for investors, Mida has been an active conduit between the industry and academia, bridging the gaps in building the talents of the country.
We hope that our numerous engagements have not only enabled us to better serve the needs of the industries, but more importantly, such engagements have contributed in enhancing the employability of our undergraduates.
As Malaysia aspires to become a high-income nation, we are no longer competitive in the labourintensive industries.
We are encouraging our players to adopt smart manufacturing and automation in their operations.
Mida has been hard at work in familiarising and facilitating local manufacturers with the adoption of these new technologies. Among the challenges is correcting the perception that the shift would incur high costs.
Q: Through Mida’s promotional efforts to increase investments, what are some of the spillover benefits enjoyed by Malaysians?
A: One has been the development of supply chains in the country through outsourcing to local suppliers for raw materials, components, software, packaging and logistics. This has also led to the integration of vendors. These investments have also helped create high-skilled jobs in various industries. These, in turn, created a talent base for management skills.
Mida continues to encourage industry collaboration with tertiary institutions to improve alignment between skills supply and demand.
Other spillover benefits include fostering entrepreneurship and birth of Malaysian companies, growth of shared services industries, transfer of technology, and nurturing Malaysian companies to design and develop new products and services.
Mida continues to successfully attract foreign and domestic investments, and to support and encourage local companies to build and grow their businesses locally and globally.
Many local companies have grown from small size to what they are today as a result of Mida’s continuous efforts in developing the industrial ecosystem and supply chain.
Moving forward, they should have their own brand names or be part of multinational corporations, embark on research and development (R&D) on their products to make them more resilient, more competitive and expand the number of customers.
Those not part of the global supply chain, like the rubber glove industry, are also transforming with R&D in place. Being 70 per cent of the global market, we are a very significant player.
Mida will be working closely with them to maintain that position.
Malaysian Investment Development Authority chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud says it is encouraging local players to adopt smart manufacturing and automation.