PUTRAJAYA, April 18 (Bernama) -- The 5G will impact every industry that is vital to the growth of the country’s economy, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Speaking at the launching of the 5G showcase here today, Dr Mahathir said industries like manufacturing, which has contributed 22 per cent to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in the last five years, remained integral to the national economy, and about 98.5 per cent of Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were in the manufacturing sector.
"Through smart manufacturing or massive machine-type communications, the government hopes that it can attract high value-added, high technology and knowledge-intensive investment in areas such as aerospace, chemicals and chemical products, machinery and equipment, medical devices, and electrical and electronics,”he said.
However, Dr Mahathir said the change from 4G to 5G did not just appear overnight as it required significant effort in research and development, industry collaborations, and the resources necessary to support that effort.
Thus, he said the government would embark on the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) to ensure readiness and timely deployment of 5G technology.
Dr Mahathir said the government had also introduced Industry 4Ward (Industry forward) for the manufacturing sector that would touch on funding, infrastructure, regulations, talent, and access to technology to enable manufacturers to integrate Industry 4.0 technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data into their operations.
"The aim is for the country to be in the Top 30 of the Global Innovation Index ranks by the year 2025," he said.
Dr Mahathir said he believed that technology could ensure businesses become more effective, which in turn could yield an increase in productivity and output as well as wages for the workers.
This could address Malaysia's income gap issue, which has doubled in two decades, according to studies from the Khazanah Research Institute, he said.
Dr Mahathir said 5G could also guarantee that quality education was spread far and wide across the country, connecting the unconnected in the rural areas.
"Teaching can move beyond the confines of the classroom while students can learn and interact in different ways than we do today.
"With the Fourth Industrial Revolution already upon us, it has become more crucial than ever to develop essential skills among young Malaysians, which requires not only data-driven skills, but also mental agility, particularly when disruption has become the norm in our everyday lives," he said.
Dr Mahathir said businesses needed to arm themselves with new knowledge and take the risks to apply technology not just to increase output and productivity but also to create new products and services, new methods and processes.
"Today’s age demands for a new level of thinking, and in many cases, novel and innovative approaches to business," he said.
Therefore, he also urged business leaders to quickly embrace Industry 4.0 and complement their plans with comprehensive augmentation strategies and to remain dynamic and competitive in an age of machines, they must also invest in their human capital.
"There is both a moral and economic imperative to do so. Without proactive approaches, businesses and workers may lose out on the economic potential of the digital age.
Themed "Progressing Humanity Programme", the 5G Malaysia showcase is held at Kompleks Perbadanan Putrajaya and is open to the public until April 21 (Sunday).
Also present at the event were Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and his deputy Eddin Syazlee Shith, Economic Affairs Minster Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister, Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad and Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.