Malaysian Entrepreneurs Discuss Ways To Bridge Digital Gap

Mahathir bin Mohamad
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad arrives to attend the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan March 23, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro)

During the first digital business forum spearheaded by the Digital Native Agenda 23 (DNA23) initiative that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim proposed, business leaders in Malaysia shared insights on how the corporate sector can approach digital economy development with inclusivity in mind.

According to The Star, the Digital Dialogue Series forum saw guest speakers from some of the country's leading digital-based companies including Digital Durian CEO, Sinan Ismail and bitcoin firm NEM Malaysia CEO, Jasmine Ng.

During the digital dialogue held at Sunway University, Sinan explained how his popular animated series, Didi & Friends, found its way to the online market. He said he noticed a huge gap in Malaysia's digital economy that needed to be addressed.

While Sinan encourages an inclusive manner in developing Malaysia's digital economy, he acknowledged the need for more opportunities in the market. "Everybody should have the opportunity to develop themselves. Genius is evenly distributed by zip code, but opportunity and access are not," he said.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister, Ong Kian Ming, also spoke during the forum, giving entrepreneurs some insight on the importance of effectively transitioning to digitized processes in today's business setting.

Anwar also spoke of considering less fortunate citizens when developing plans to expand Malaysia's digital economy. He said everyone should benefit from developments in digital sectors, including "the poor and the marginalized."

Aside from opening opportunities and promoting inclusive strategies, Anwar stressed the importance of recognizing that both urban and rural communities can be a strength for companies seeking to digitize their processes.

Unlike many companies in the west, Malaysia has a stronger traditional business setting. Over the past few years, the government and digital firms have united to promote digitization among business owners.

One of the most anticipated developments in Malaysia's digital economy is the integration of 5G networks in commercial settings. On Thursday, Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad spoke at the launch of the 5G Malaysia Showcase.

Mahathir arrived at the Kompleks Perbadnan Putrajaya building riding an autonomous car. He also took part in testing the facial recognition technology installed in the building and was welcomed into the event by Adik Aishah, a hologram of a girl who found fame in the country's digital world.

In his speech for the opening of the showroom, Mahathir said he is hoping that 5G technology will help address inequality, boost wages, and open job opportunities. He said the high-end tech should encourage interest in investments involving digital sectors such as smart products and electronics.

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