Mida will con­tinue to be rel­e­vant in next 50 years

New Straits Times - - Business -

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.

PIC BY NUR ADIBAH AH­MAD IZAM

Malaysian In­vest­ment De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Az­man Mah­mud says it is en­cour­ag­ing lo­cal play­ers to adopt smart man­u­fac­tur­ing and au­to­ma­tion.

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