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PUTRAJAYA, April 8 -- Malaysia's Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Thursday that Malaysia believes the Internet of Things (IoT) will boost the Developing Eight (D-8) member states' economies and that it will be the key driver in transforming the global economy post-COVID-19 pandemic.
In his keynote speech when participating in the 10th Summit of the D-8 virtually today, Muhyiddin said Malaysia was actively cultivating IoT-based industries like e-commerce, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and automation.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted a newfound sense of urgency to the digital inclusion agenda.
“While the crisis has enabled hundreds of millions to work, learn and connect digitally, it is easy to see how it has also exacerbated the situation for far too many people in vulnerable situations around the world.
“Now, more than ever, connectivity should be at the core of all national and international priorities from healthcare, education, government services and beyond,” he said.
The D-8 consists of eight developing countries namely Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
In sharing Malaysia's experiences, Muhyiddin said the government had recently announced a Digital Transformation Roadmap, with action plans focuses on expanding and improving the country's digital connectivity.
He said the National Digital Network (JENDELA) action plan, which amounted to US$ 12.7 billion, will be the platform to achieve the aspirations by accelerating the country's digital connectivity through widespread deployment of mobile, fibre and fixed wireless access, and paving the way to 5G.
“We believe it will push the adoption of technology and digital transformation. This is necessary for the country's economic trajectory,” he said.
With the dynamic youth population of 550 million, Muhyiddin also said the D-8 member states could revitalise their economies by empowering youth with digital skills and harnessing digital businesses and entrepreneurship.
He said Malaysia recognised Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) based industry would accelerate the growth of the digital economy.
Muhyiddin said under the IR4.0 technology aspired initiative, the government has introduced Malaysia 5.0 to address digital accessibility, financial inclusion, productivity and growth through the tools of Industry 4.0 such as fintech, blockchain and AI, as this will contribute to the digital economy and a more sustainable and circular economy.
“As a long-term strategy, my government is currently working closely with our colleges and universities. The aim is to help these colleges and universities to produce relevant and industry-ready graduates for the ICT (information and communications technology) industry, more relevant topics such as IoT and Big Data Analytics into the syllabus,” he said.
Muhyiddin said a specifically designed programme was launched recently to empower Malaysia's youth directly affected by the pandemic.
He said the New Gen Entrepreneur Online Bootcamp is a technology-based training and business coaching programme for youth entrepreneurs, aimed to benefit Malaysia's youth in the long term.
“It is one of the initiatives under the government US$ 4.8 billion post-pandemic recovery stimulus package,” he added.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia was also proud of the youth involvement in agriculture which has been on the increase.
He said a shift in mindset in the younger generation has assured them that agriculture holds a promising future.
“Smart farming is rapidly becoming the future of agriculture. The food supply chain can be improved by introducing enabling technologies, such as IoT or traceability systems, that have the potential to increase food safety and production transparency,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the pandemic has also changed the conventional way of learning, and the government has introduced initiatives to soften the impact, including improving the digital platform infrastructure for online learning.
He said this includes greater last mile connectivity in schools across rural and remote areas through stronger fibre optic connectivity and providing 150,000 laptops, together with a free limited data package for students from low-income households to ensure that their education was not disrupted.
Muhyiddin is leading Malaysia's delegation to the 10th Summit of the D-8, hosted by Bangladesh, the current chair of the D-8 Summit.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan also participated in the virtual summit.