Malaysia sees further progress as “Springboard to ASEAN”

Dato’ Yasmin addressing the audience during the panel discussion. To her right is CEO of iGene Matt Chandran, while from left were Standard Chartered CIO Malaysia & Group CIO Islamic Banking Dato' Arif Siddiqui, HE Vicki Treadell and emcee Asha Gill.

With the Malaysian government’s continued focus on the field of Information Technology to drive the country’s economy towards a high-income knowledge-based one, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has been rolling full steam ahead with this in mind as the country moves to become a springboard to ASEAN.  

MDEC, which has been tasked with the important role of “Championing Malaysia’s Digital Economy”, has been hard at work in laying the groundwork for Malaysia to become a premier technological hub in the Southeast Asia region. This has especially true in the Small and Medium-size Enterprise (SME) space. 

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“Our SME contribution is one of the lowest in the world. Therefore, there has been increasing drive from the government to give that whole startup ecosystem a hard push. MDEC has been introducing various initiatives with this segment in mind,” said Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, CEO, MDEC. Among these initiatives are the introduction of the “Malaysia Digital Hub” and “Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme” (MTEP) with the aim of further accelerating the country towards its Digital Economy aspirations.

“Malaysia is gradually gaining interests from startups and entrepreneurs worldwide,” added Dato’ Yasmin. “Located at the heart of ASEAN, Malaysia is able to connect businesses to a regional market of more than 625 million people.”

“With the introduction of Malaysia Digital Hub and MTEP, the local and global tech startup communities can now leverage these benefits that our country has to offer,” she said. “This will further strengthen Malaysia’s position as a global hub for startups and entrepreneurs.”

Dato’ Yasmin explained that the Malaysia Digital Hub will support tech and digital co-working spaces, their startups and communities with support from the government and a bigger opportunity to connect to ASEAN and global digital ecosystems. 

Encouraging greater agility and boldness 

According to Dato’ Yasmin, in the world of innovation and structure, it is not the large companies with their refined culture and frameworks for everything that will take advantage of the creativity that is needed to drive value.  

“The people that we are creating in the area of disruptive innovation are the kind that will take advantage of agility and boldness. They can approach things with a mindset that failure is an option. Hence, if you look at last year’s budget there were two things that stood out. One was the Internet economy while the other was a focus on SME and entrepreneurship,” she said.  

Progress has been ongoing and most recently we are seeing the results of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Malaysia and the UK a year ago. The MOU was intended to strengthen the digital partnership between both countries and now, MDEC and the UK Department for International Trade (DIT), together with the Small and Medium Enterprises Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp), are set to welcome the largest tech delegation from the UK ever to visit Malaysia. 

Expressing confidence in Malaysia’s ability to draw interest from around the world, Dato’ Yasmin said, “Located at the heart of ASEAN, Malaysia is able to connect businesses to a regional market of more than 625 million people.”  

Tech partnerships between Malaysia and the UK delivering results 

DIT in partnership with Malaysia’s Global Entrepreneurship Movement (GEM) held a soft launch for the UK Mega Technology Mission Malaysia 2017 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The launch was officiated by Secretary General to the Treasury, Patron and Founder of GEM, YBhg. Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar bin Abdullah jointly with British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency Vicki Treadell CMG MVO.  

The Mega Tech Mission, which will consist of a delegation of up to 50 British tech companies, will be in Malaysia from 9-11 October 2017 in search of opportunities to connect, collaborate and innovate with potential Malaysian business partners. The two-day, invite-only gathering is designed to bring together techpreneurs, start/scale-ups and established businesses with a focus on Fintech, Big Data Analytics, Smart Cities, Eve Commerce, Internet of Things, Cloud & Data Storage and CyberSecurity. Delegates can expect pitching sessions, panel discussions, business matching opportunities and a networking reception to conclude events.

The mission will mark the latest milestone for Malaysia-UK collaboration in the tech sector since the signing of an MOU between MDEC and the UK’s DIT a year ago.  

Her Excellency Vicki Treadell, is delighted by progress made thus far, saying:  

“Tech partnerships between Malaysia and the UK are delivering results. In the last year, we have seen MDEC sign three MOUs in the areas of cyber security and smart cities as well as MDEC participation in London Technology Week for two consecutive years. Furthermore. MDEC reports that Direct Investment from the UK to Malaysia for the tech sector stands at RM269.9m with the UK’s DIT recording RM4Om of tech exports into Malaysia. We now have the largest UK tech mission ever to visit Malaysia. We want to keep the momentum going, with Malaysia as our partner of choice in the technology sector.” 

Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar bin Abdullah, said: ‘”In keeping with the fourth industrial revolution, Malaysian businesses are ready with bigger appetites to cater to a global market. With UK’s technology sector being at the forefront of many hi-tech developments, it makes for great synergy when Malaysian companies actively connect and expand their businesses to collaborate to directly benefit from the cross-Dyers of talent and innovations.

On the other hand, for the UK tech companies, we welcome you to look at Malaysia as the most strategic base in Asia given our commitment to position digital economy as a key to Malaysia’s transformation towards TN50. We have since launched the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTDFTZZ) as well as the Malaysia Digital Hub providing conducive and inclusive regulations, policies and facilities.”  

Malaysian technopreneurs, start/scale-ups and established businesses who are looking to collaborate and innovate with UK partners can sign up for the Mega Tech Mission 2017 in September via the UK award-winning B2B platform, Inspired Mobile.

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