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A new Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) policy was launched by the government yesterday, aimed at accelerating and equipping Malaysian industries and society to navigate through the rapidly evolving digital and technological realms.

The policy is aimed to leverage on the synergy of the physical, biological, and digital worlds to elevate the country’s over-all value based on four policy thrusts; to equip the rakyat with 4IR knowledge and skill sets, to forge a connected nation through digital infrastructure development, to future proof regulations to be agile with technological changes, and to accelerate 4IR technology innovation and adoption.

Within the 4IR policy are 16 strategies. Six of these are targeted at equipping the society with the necessary skill set needed to fully benefit from the digitisation, six more set to benefit the industries and businesses, and four that involve elevating the public sector and its services.

These strategies are then subdivided into three expected completion dates, where projects aimed to enhance 4IR awareness and adoption should be completed by 2022, those seeking to drive transformation and inclusivity of 4IR by 2025, while the government hopes to achieve balanced, responsible, and sustainable growth by leveraging mostly on 4IR technologies by 2030.

The policy aims to achieve these targets by first focusing on 10 key sectors, which are manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare, education, agriculture, utilities, finance and insurance professional, scientific and technical services, wholesale and retail trade, and tourism.

Additionally, six supporting sectors have also been identified as those that will contribute to the accelerated sociological and economic growth, namely; construction services, arts, entertainment, and recreation services, real estate, mining and quarrying, information and communication services, and administrative and support services.

But how does it benefit the people?

Society (Students and individuals)

Among the long term strategies are plans to scale up students’ exposure to 4IR technologies and encourage innovations and to enhance and implement the 21st-Century Learning (PAK-21) programmeme that equips students with soft skills in preparation of entering the workforce.

The government is also looking to provide support to innovative businesses and social enterprises that leverage 4IR technology to solve socio-economic issues, and to prioritise public sector research and development (R&D) and commercialisation and innovation funding for fresh innovations.

In the shorter term, the policy will focus on enhancing the design and delivery of 4IR-related courses in institutions of higher education and technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

As for plans on up-skilling and governance, the framework will be steered to ensure policies that promote equal access to 4IR learning opportunities, provide incentives to minimise the risk of job displacements, while enhancing a formal social protection mechanism for gig workers.

It also aims to bridge the technological adoption gap between the urban and rural communities by expanding the digital marketplace for it to be more accessible to the digitally underserved.

To safeguard these societal strategies, the policy sets to introduce an ethics policy for technological development, deployment, and utilisation to ensure its responsible use, while legislatively, it plans to introduce specific laws on cybersecurity and improve personal data protection laws, regulations and existing guidelines.

Businesses

Under the new policy, there will be initiatives to establish industry-led and sectoral based 4IR-skills development centres with plans to incentivise the selected industries to upskill and reskill talents in the 4IR areas.

It will also work towards establishing an Artificial Intelligence-enabled data platform to facilitate human capital planning, and to reconcile current labour policies with talent pipeline projections and other 4IR-related incentives, to reduce dependency on foreign labour.

To strengthen the digital infrastructure, businesses can expect 4IR innovation parks to be established, with 4IR application centres set to provide a secure test-bed scenario for technology providers.

This includes developing 4IR-enabling infrastructures for wider application of technological use, while policy-wise, the policy will look to adopt an agile regulatory approach to meet the needs of the businesses in the digital economy.

It also looks to achieve real-time matching along with coordinated support and facilitation that hopes to accelerate innovation and scaling of 4IR technologies between businesses, including those from micro SMEs and entrepreneurs.

Businesses can also look forward to being incentivised for utilising 4IR technologies and applications designed towards business improvements and be rewarded based on their performance.

There is also a mobile co-investment fund to accelerate 4IR adoption by industries planned within the policy.

Public Sector

As for the civil service, one of the core initiatives would be to introduce the 4IR Innovation Accelerator programme that would be dedicated to driving the adoption of 4IR technologies in all levels of the government, while simultaneously providing all public staff with 4IR-related training.

To enhance the public sector’s infrastructure, the policy will look to expand the MyGovCloud system that promotes cloud computing in the public sector, strengthening data-driven policy development and create a more conducive data-sharing environment to ensure high data quality, all while enhancing the workforce mobility of the public sector.

On the international stage, the policy will prioritise establishing a World Economic Forum (WEF) Centre to accelerate the country into a hub of global stakeholders’ cooperation that would facilitate the development of better policy frameworks.

It will also take a more democratic approach at drafting its regulatory frameworks by co-creating and co-designing 4IR-related policies and regulations via a “rakyat-centric” approach.

It also looks to improve existing cyber security frameworks by incorporating safeguard measures for the implementation and operationalisation of 4IR across the public sector what would be focused on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Other initiatives include the empowerment of the National Digital Identity and the creation of a Government Experience Lab to act as the catalyst to drive greater 4IR adoption rates in government services.

Framework performance indicators

The first performance indicator set for the policy is to achieve an enhanced quality of life that should be reflected in its Malaysian Wellbeing Index (MyWI).

“Enhanced quality of life of the rakyat reflected by the improvement in the MyWI, from 124.4 in 2018 to 136.5 in 2030. This will be achieved by leveraging technological advancement,” read the first policy mission.

This includes raising index benchmarks for economic and social wellbeing, like increasing survival probability from chronic diseases from 82.8 per cent in 2019 to 90 per cent in 2030.

Other objectives include raising Malaysian’s general life expectancy from 67 to 72-years-old, reducing median emergency and police response time to eight minutes, and reducing 30 per cent of travel time during rush hours.

They also hope to see at least a 30 per cent uplift in productivity across all sectors by 2030, with 2020’s numbers as the benchmark, to achieve a 3.5 per cent gross expenditure ratio on R&D to GDP.

It also hopes to record an increase in investment for 4IR-enabling infrastructure and subsequently an uptrend in the number of home-grown 4IR technology providers.

The government expects a 55 per cent increase in productivity in the agricultural sectors by 2030, a 30 per cent increase in the manufacturing sector, and a 45 per cent increase in the services sector.

A total of 20 per cent of semi and low-skilled workers are expected to be highly trained by 2030, including the expectation for all teachers to be adequately trained to use 4IR technology in lessons by the same deadline.

Malaysia also should be ranked within the Top 20 countries among United Nations’ E-Government Development Index list, and have at least 80 per cent of its online services fully integrated and supported by 4IR technology by 2030 under the policy.

Also listed as an objective is ensuring improvement in Malaysia’s ranking in the Environmental Performance Index from currently ranked at 68 out of 180 countries to at least a top-50 rank by 2030 through the preservation of its ecological integrity using 4IR technologies.

This along with a reduction of at least 45 per cent in its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 2030.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin

Quelle/Source: Malay Mail, 02.07.2021

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