PM: Digital Economy makes Malaysia more competitive globally

Invest Malaysia

Invest Malaysia Kuala Lumpur (IMKL) 2018 kicked off with a bang at the Shangri-La Hotel as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic) made a strong case for investors through his showcase of Malaysian economic strength and future potential in his welcome address.

NajibAs it stands, Malaysia currently ranks 2nd in ASEAN in the Digital Evolution Index 2017, 5th in Asia in the Huawei Global Connectivity Index 2017, 7th in Asia in the ICT Development Index 2017 and 6th in Asia for the Networked Readiness Index 2016; for the Cloud Readiness Index 2016; and the Asian Digital Transformation Index 2016.

Firmly on its path towards the digital future, Malaysia is also driven by fundamental strengths such as Sustainable economic growth, low inflation and unemployment rates. Other strengths playing a role include its high-performing corporations, professionals, interconnectivity and business-conducive environments – the results of far-sighted policies and meticulous planning.

According to Datuk Seri Najib, some of the most robust proof of the Malaysian economic transformation is evident in the new economy the country is currently building. The government has steadily invested in building towards a Digital Economy that will be able to compete fiercely on a global scale. Through its agencies Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre, or MaGIC, Malaysia has established various initiatives towards achieving this.

One such initiative has been in the form of the Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme, which is designed to attract overseas tech founders who also see ASEAN as an unmissable opportunity. These technopreneurs can base themselves here via a one-year or five-year stay programme.

The Ringgit was one of the best performing currencies in Asia in 2017

The most recent initiative and some would say most significant for both the country and the region has been the establishment of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ). The DFTZ is the first of its kind outside of China and aims to capitalise on the exponential growth of the internet economy and cross-broader eCommerce.

Established in co-operation with tech giant Alibaba, the DFTZ is designed to take full advantage of eCommerce and borderless trade. Through this, it has the potential to create massive impact on the way business is done in Malaysia and position it as a significant trading nation.

“Although it only officially started last November, over 2000 SMEs have already registered to take advantage of the remarkable opportunities this platform offers,” commented Datuk Seri Najib.

A robust and inclusive ecosystem enabling innovation and next-gen entrepreneurs

Malaysia has also established a Digital Hub to provide opportunities for business to connect to the digital economy ecosystem by providing designated physical spaces for growing start-ups to develop their next big ideas. In a 2016 Thomson Reuters poll, Malaysia’s young, tech savvy population was also recognised as the country ranked 9th best place to be a social entrepreneur in the world.

Datuk Seri Najib concluded by re-iterating the ideals of the Malaysia the government is forging; A diverse, tolerant and productive nation where transparency and efficiency will be watchwords in both the public and the private sectors.

“(We are) a nation that is your gateway to ASEAN, and once the Regional Comprehensive Partnership is concluded, to the almost 50 percent of the world’s population and over 30 percent of global GDP that agreement will cover,” he added.

IMKL is held annually as a gathering ground for the global investing audience. Started by Bursa Malaysia Berhad, the platform showcases the diversity of Malaysia’s capital market and introduces key multinational companies and global champions that are set to drive economic growth within the ASEAN marketplace.

IMKL 2018 marks the 14th year that the event has been held and it has grown from strength to strength, bringing together thought leaders, movers and shakers of the capital market under one roof, including fund managers (local and global), top executives of listed companies, government officials and other key capital market players.