Malaysia wins international award for DFTZ initiative

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) vice president (corporate affairs) Razaleigh Zainal (centre) with (from left to right) MDEC vice president (enterprise development) Gopi Ganesalingam, former ASOCIO chairman Abdullah H. Kafi, current ASOCIO chairman David Wong and immediate past ASOCIO chairman Bunrak Saraggananda

For years now, Malaysia has been working full steam ahead towards a high-income knowledge-based society. A large part of that is undertaken through government initiatives spearheaded by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) such as the establishment of the country’s Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) and programmes for the rakyat such as eUsahawan.

It comes then as no surprise that Malaysia has just been named the winner of the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization’s (ASOCIO) Global ICT Excellence Award for Digital Government – precisely for DFTZ –  at the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) and ASOCIO ICT Summit held yesterday in Taipei, Taiwan.

More on the DFTZ

“The DFTZ is one of the main initiatives that MDEC holds to be of paramount importance for Malaysia and is the most visible of all MDEC’s undertakings. Designed to take full advantage of eCommerce and borderless trade, the DFTZ can have a massive impact on the way business is done in Malaysia and position it as a significant trading nation,” said MDEC vice president (corporate affairs) Razaleigh Zainal.

“eCommerce has and will continue to affect traditional retail avenues and businesses. Through technology and increasingly borderless access, businesses now have access to a much larger potential market,” he further said, adding that the government’s Digital Malaysia vision is about transforming the nation towards a developed digital economy by 2020.

Founded to represent ICT associations from 24 economies throughout Asia Pacific, ASOCIO was established in Tokyo, Japan in 1984. ASOCIO’s objective is to promote, encourage and foster relationships and trade among its members, and to develop the computing industry throughout the region. It has grown to become one of the most active international ICT trade organization in Asia and Oceania. Today, ASOCIO’s influence covers more than 10,000 ICT companies and represents approximately US$ 350 billion in ICT revenue in the region.

Besides the ASOCIO Digital Government award for DFTZ, MDEC was also recognised with a merit World Information Technology & Services Alliance (WITSA) Global ICT Excellence Award for Malaysia’s eUsahawan programme at the same event.

“It is most heartening to note that our efforts for the rakyat have been recognised at the international level,” said Razaleigh.

With the goal of identifying the most outstanding ICT users, the WITSA Global ICT Excellence Awards honours organisations that have demonstrated exceptional achievement in using ICT to benefit societies, governments, individuals, organisations and the private sector.

Training the digital workforce

Razaleigh describes eUsahawan as “an engagement and education initiative” that integrates a digital entrepreneurship curriculum into major Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions nationwide, also extending the engagement to include micro-entrepreneurs via a short course format.

MDEC has been working closely with strategic and industry partners such as the Department of Polytechnic Education, the Department of Community Colleges, Mara (Majlis Amanah Rakyat or the Council of Trust for the People), the Association of Business Executives, Xentral Methods, Celcom, Karangkraf and to develop the initiative.

“Malaysia is a centre of excellence when it comes to innovation, service offerings, and is a good place to do business,” said Razaleigh.

“Technology has become such a force of disruption that the landscape of entire industries changes in the blink of an eye. MDEC’s role is to ensure that Malaysia is ready for the digital future and that everything is in place. This includes education, mindset and the tools available.”

“Towards that end, MDEC will continue to lead and drive various initiatives and act as the guiding hand in Malaysia’s Digital Economy,” added Razaleigh.