Speech at 5G Malaysia Showcase 2019


  1. It is an honour to be here today for the 5G Malaysia Showcase 2019 event which in effect marks another milestone in our nation’s journey into the future of communications, connectivity and smart automation.

  2. Indeed, 5G marks an inflection point in the future of communications taking us into a dimension which is some time beyond our imagination.

  3. Back in 1996, when I launched the Multimedia Super Corridor to encourage the emergence and rise of the tech industry locally, it was at a period when the world was facing unprecedented change. Precipitated by the information age, borders were disappearing due to the ease of global communication, capital flow, the movements of goods and people across the globe.

  4. It was then envisaged that Malaysia should and could be an exporter of technology. In addition, the MSC was to showcase to Malaysians the technological possibilities that existed and the endless possibilities they offered. Since its inception in 1996, the MSC has generated more than RM47 billion in revenues from more than 3,000 companies and created more than 160,000 jobs and the opportunities for growth remain, very much due to the ever-expanding boundaries of the digital economy.

  5. When the MSC was introduced, the internet was still nascent. Today, we are facing yet another unprecedented change. Triggered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the borderless world is now beginning to shape itself into the age of boundless connectivity where machines can communicate without human intervention through the Internet of Things (IoT) that are capable to make automation more intelligent – subsequently driving near-endless array of services and applications.

  6. The Fourth Industrial Revolution melds advances in the digital, physical and biological spheres, and brings with it breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, virtual reality and software engineering.

  7. One of the key elements to enable and usher this new age, is an advanced mobile wireless technology. By and large, the earlier generations of mobile connectivity enabled people-to-people communications, with some capabilities for different scenarios. 5G on the other hand, offers much more than just speed.

  8. It promises a world, where not only people are connected, but all things are connected. From cars on the roads to robotic devices, and doctors able to perform surgeries from the other side of the world, to a fleet of drones that can fly over a field of crops, using sensors on the ground to sort, pick, feed, and water individual plants automatically. These are among the wonders and benefits that 5G connectivity can unlock and it requires massive increase in the level of connectivity.

  9. But the change from 4G to 5G doesn’t just appear overnight. It requires significant effort in research and development, industry collaborations, and the resources necessary to support that effort. I am glad to state that the Government will embark on the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) to ensure readiness and timely deployment of 5G technology.

  10. 5G will impact every industry that are vital to the growth of the country’s economy. Industries like manufacturing that has contributed 22% to the GDP in the last five years, remains integral to the national economy. 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.

  11. About 98.5% of Malaysian SMEs are in the manufacturing sector. Thus, it is the manufacturing sector that allows Malaysia to consistently demonstrate dynamism and resilience to grow, while attracting foreign direct investments.

  12. To that end, we have introduced Industry 4Ward (Industry forward) for the manufacturing sector that will 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.

  13. Having said that, economic growth would hardly make sense if it does not support inclusivity across all segments of society. Over the past 50 years, we have seen tremendous global economic growth. The world economy is growing six-fold and the average per capita income has almost tripled. Much progress has been made that leads to the improvement of living standards across the globe. However, global inequality is now at its highest level. Recent studies show that the richest 1% in the world have half of the world’s wealth. In Malaysia, studies from the Khazanah Research Institute show that Malaysia’s income gap has doubled in two decades.

  14. These gaps in inequality, if left unchecked, will affect economic and social growth in the long run. Inequality can threaten sustainable growth if it leads to under-privileged health problems, poor productivity; as well as low education levels.

  15. In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of reducing inequality, the Government is committed to reducing the income gap between segments of the Malaysian population but it cannot do this alone, via government aid and social services. It is on this note, I believe that technology can ensure businesses becoming more effective, which in turn could yield an increase in productivity and output as well as wages for the workers.

  16. 5G can also guarantee that quality education is 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.

  17. Education, and the understanding of technology among the students cannot wait. It has to be emphasised and promoted now. History has shown that nations which respond quickly to disruption with systematic and coherent strategies for its citizenry had always been able to ride the wave of radical changes.

  18. The march of technological progress is not only relentless but it is also faster than what we can imagine, making it crucial for business leaders to review their business processes, strategies, and goals to stay ahead of the curve.

  19. The potential for growth is limitless, but it all boils down to knowledge on application. Businesses need 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.

  20. The ability to keep abreast and in tandem with technological progress will have a bearing on economic success. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to entreat business leaders to quickly embrace Industry 4.0 and complement their plans with comprehensive augmentation strategies. To remain dynamic and competitive in an age of machines, they must 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.

  21. The businesses are our main stakeholders and we need to continue improving the environment for the businesses to prosper. This is where the government aims to create an environment conducive for growth from ensuring ubiquitous connectivity through the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) to forming the National 5G Taskforce in November 2018 to identify the potential uses for 5G, discuss impediments in adopting this new technology and provide ideas and solutions for 5G implementation in the country.

  22. I am confident, that if we make the necessary preparations to usher this transformational technology, Malaysia should be able to leverage 5G within the next 3 years – enabling the country to punch above its own weight and catapulting the national economy towards strong and sustainable growth.

  23. We have come a long way and yet there’s still a distance to go. What we are doing today is the cornerstone of Malaysia’s march into the new age and a vital foundation for us to remain relevant and competitive.

  24. On that note, it is indeed my pleasure to launch 5G Malaysia Showcase 2019 today.

    Thank you.

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