Peo­ple need to work to­gether to en­gage in new econ­omy, says Sheng

New Straits Times - - Business - RUPA DAMODARAN KUALA LUMPUR ru­pa­banerji@me­di­

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).

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