Becoming One Connected Malaysia
Managing Director for Cisco in Malaysia
Over the last three decades, we have been collectively moving towards the goal of becoming a developed, high income nation by the year 2020. As we approach the final five years of this target, technology plays a critical role in achieving our ambition. This is especially from the exponential increase in devices connected to the internet, the Internet of Everything, and the decisions enabled by big data and analytics, which is transforming us from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy.
In order to truly establish a progressive and sustainable society, we need to look at how we, as citizens and businesses, benefit from connecting the previously unconnected infrastructure not just to lift the game, but also bring us together as we first did 52 years ago on the 16th of September in 1963.
I have identified the top three enablers that will play a critical role in developing and solidifying a connected Malaysia.
Our 2015 national budget reflects a nation full of aspiration, with digital advancements being a key component of our developed nation targets. Cisco predicts that there will be 50 billion things connected to the internet by 2020, so for Malaysia, tapping into the economic value around these increased connections will depend on the capacity and infrastructure of our national networks.
Under the previous Tenth Malaysia Plan, High Speed Broadband (HSBB) and Broadband for General Population (BBGP) were rolled out in several states, raising national broadband penetration from 55.6% in 2010 to 70.2% in 2014. The recently announced Eleventh Malaysia Plan for the next five years is now solidifying these aspirations with targets of having broadband infrastructure established in 95% of populated areas, along with its affordability - targeting 1% of gross national income (GNI) per capita for fixed broadband cost. The collective aim of these targets addresses the crucial need to improve coverage, quality, and affordability of digital infrastructure.
At Cisco, we also believe Social Innovation is about harnessing the power of technology to enable everyone to participate and benefit from the transformation and the digitization of Asia. A key element in achieving our aspirations for a Connected Malaysia is developing human capital. According to an IDC Study, by 2016, there will be a skills gap of over 400,000 networking professionals across the region. As we countdown to the AEC 2015, our country’s aim to export Malaysian talent to the rest of the world will depend on our workforce’s future ready skills. We are proud to have trained more than 48,500 students across 53 academies since the Cisco Networking Academy program was introduced to the country. Our strategic partnership with the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and their talent division, has enabled us to invest in upskilling ICT graduates towards achieving national ICT literacy for a developed nation.
Our aspirations for digitally advanced infrastructures will also result in the development of innovative applications and solutions by Malaysians. The value gained from our steady adoption of Big Data and Analytics allows entrepreneurs and developers to drive new applications and services, while also enabling the public sector to meet the needs of citizens. With this, entrepreneurship remains a budget priority for 2015 as announced by the Prime Minister last year. This will be a core strategy to move Malaysia forward while we are already in pursuit of a thriving start-up landscape, supported and spearheaded by organisations such as the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) with initiatives in Sabah and Sarawak as well.
With this innovation-focused ecosystem, we find multinational companies (MNCs) investing in local start-ups and SMEs. Examples include Maybank’s partnership with 1337 Ventures and Cisco’s Internet of Things World Forum Innovation Grand Challenge, which has seen a number of Malaysian start-ups compete on a global level . These partnerships and platforms indicate the growing trust in our nation’s capacity to disrupt industries and spur new businesses, keeping Malaysia competitive.
Community and Compassion
As Malaysia progresses, the adoption of technologies creates platforms that allow greater interaction and the sharing of knowledge, therefore pulling us closer as a connected community. Programmes such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) Mini Community Broadband Centres have connected small businesses in both East and West Malaysia with international markets, unlocking the potential of disadvantaged communities . Sustainable development programs and social enterprises are also supported by local crowdfunding platforms, including PitchIn and other equity-based platforms recently approved by Securities Commission Malaysia . Such developments reflect our social progress and echo vision 2020 to establish a social system around community care.
These three enablers and the role technology are just the start in empowering citizens, businesses and communities. As our country approaches its 52nd year as a nation, I am excited to see how technology will cultivate innovative enterprises, nurture connected communities and empower every level of society in order to make our 2020 ambitions a reality.
This article first appeared in The Star on 18 September 2015 and in print in The Malaysian Reserve on 13 October 2015.