Investors Trust That Malaysia’s Digital Economy Will Grow

Asia Oil and Gas Conference
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (2nd L), Petronas CEO Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin (L), Petronas Chairman Ahmad Nizam Salleh (2nd R) and Chairman of the Asia Oil and Gas Conference 2019 organising committee Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof attend the opening ceremony of the 20th Asia Oil & Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia June 24, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin)

Investors from around the world are putting their trust in the growing digital economy of Malaysia even as some industry analysts are starting to lose hope for an economic revival in the country.

The Malaysian government is pushing forward with programs that all aim to establish the country as a digital hub in the ASEAN region. Investors are confident the country can claim its spot in the digital world due to government efforts.

Among the projects that the government under Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad launched as part of its digital economy efforts is the Malaysia Tech Week 2019 (MTW19) wherein many digital companies took part in.

Tech startups, tech regulators, industry partners, and international investors attended the MTW19 events. Company leaders and experts shared their experiences and laid out potential investment opportunities.

Due to the massive RM30 million in investments that the week-long program attracted, investors indicated that they think Malaysia is on the right track towards becoming a digital economy leader in the ASEAN.

The Mahathir administration said Malaysia is "serious" about its plan to transition into a digitally-inclined economy. The sector has already paved the way for over 180,000 jobs to be created and investments reaching $79 billion.

The biggest issues that Malaysia is faced within its road towards a completely digital economy is the lack of home-grown talents as well as cybersecurity risks that have yet to be addressed appropriately.

Also, many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) focused on digital services or products have yet to mature. Digitization programs are also in the early stages of development at this point.

Despite the hurdles that the Malaysian government acknowledges, the country is still considered as a suitable "test bed" for innovative projects and programs that lead towards a solid digital economy.

Last year, Mohamad said he wants the country to become one of the top 30 countries under the Global Innovation Index six years from now. Many investment firms and individual investors still believe that Mohamad's plans aren't far from reality.

For R&D firm Axiata Digital Services CEO Khairil Abdullah, Malaysia offers an excellent environment for testing innovations for the global digital economy. Demographics is a major reason why Khairil thinks this is so.

"The market is so accessible and you see such a wide range of demographic in such small geography that allows us to experiment, build our products, test it and get the results very quickly," Khairil pointed out.

Malaysia has yet to address the major issues that industry experts presented regarding the country's current status in the digital economy. On the other hand, the support of digital leaders and investors could help the country reach its 2025 goals.

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