MALAYSIA URGED TO LEVERAGE ON SOCIAL TECH
People need to work together to engage in new economy, says Sheng
MALAYSIA should leverage on social technology, which is its true strength, when competing with technology giants and focus on niche areas where the others do not have a comparative advantage.
Tan Sri Andrew Sheng, who is a distinguished fellow at Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong, said: “We have talent which we have not fully recognised but we also need to work together as one community to engage in the new economy, and the timing is better now than ever. We cannot compete with the giants which have scale, speed and scope.”
Sheng was speaking at the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) Economic Forum 2017, which was opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, here, yesterday.
Physical technologies could be upgraded while the government could help build the business model but success would only emerge by helping young members of the community.
“Mentor the young to start thinking about the new economy as it involves lifelong learning to adapt, innovate and create.”
He suggested an “ABC” (academia, business and civil service) partnership in moving towards a technology economy.
While academia involves massive open online courses, hybrid training (coding and creative skills) with employer-designed curriculum, business chambers can work on skills identification, training and mentoring programmes.
To enhance the skills of the civil service, he pointed out Singapore’s special initiative to enable the civil service to participate in training courses.
Sheng warned members of business chambers of the dangers of a mono line of work and urged them to look at Alibaba Group’s e-commerce platform.
He also spoke about the key challenges Malaysia faced in the wake of subdued demand for energy and palm oil.
As an open trading economy, Malaysia has to cope with the growing challenges of trade protectionism as well as geopolitical and territorial tensions.
Malaysia also had to reckon with the over-reliance on imported labour which had increased the youth unemployment, he added.
Sheng questioned whether Malaysia was able to cope with challenges of the new economy.
Education must keep pace with technology, which has given rise to artificial intelligence and robotics. Formal education is outdated due to the speed of new knowledge while companies are not spending enough for on-thejob training. It has been found that the demand for data analysts and visualisation skills have jumped sharply over the past five years.
One of the concerns raised was the public trust deficit, and Sheng said it was a global phenomenon but it was up to any country to turn it into a surplus.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak visiting a booth at the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia Economic Forum 2017 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. With him is International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (third from left).