Larger government-linked companies are lacking ambition with regards to digital transformation and too content with where they are, according to Khazanah Nasional Bhd deputy managing director Tengku Datuk Seri Azmil Zahruddin Raja Abdul Aziz.

KUALA LUMPUR: Larger government-linked companies are lacking ambition with regards to digital transformation and too content with where they are, according to Khazanah Nasional Bhd deputy managing director Tengku Datuk Seri Azmil Zahruddin Raja Abdul Aziz.

Large companies often struggle with the digital transformation despite having better access to their markets, Tengku Azmil added.

“For this, GLCs need to step up, and there are a lot of opportunities for large companies to accelerate growth. Malaysia is still behind globally, such as in the big data space. There is a limited number of companies that are really adopting big data analytics, such as Grab,” he said at a recent post-2020 Budget forum by RHB Bank Bhd.

Citing an example, he said Bursa Malaysia always has the same largest 30 stocks across the years, whereas in the US, this had changed over the years.

“This shows Malaysia lacks ambition to grow and change. As such, GLCs will need to step up and not tolerate management teams that are unambitious.”

Tengku Azmil - speaking at a session on “Digital Economy Accelerated” which was one of three sessions at the forum, said public private partnership (PPP) was the key to succeed for building an ecosystem in a digital economy.

The success is also dependent on incentives and grants, as well ascompanies’ willingness to embrace the digital economy.

The session was also participated by Malaysian American Electronics Industry chairman Datuk Seri Wong Siew Hai, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chief development officer Bawani Selvaratnam, Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association president Datuk Ir Soam Heng Choon, the Securities Commission executive director Chin Wei Min and Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh.

The panelists, said RHB Bank, had given an average rating of seven out of 10 on the initiatives for the digital economy in the 2020 Budget.

They agreed that the budget had laid a foundation and contained good ingredients to spur growth.

MAEI’s Wong said market access remained the biggest challenge to SMEs, not the access to financing.

Investors were unaware of some SMEs due to the lack of visibility, he said, and proposed to establish a virtual platform for SMEs to gain better market access.

Grab’s Goh said SMEs were likely to adopt frontend changes with a multiplier effect, especially if they were shown how digital initiatives were able to help generate extra revenue.

He believes that for digitalisation to be realised, SMEs should focus on end-to-end digitalisation, which is more powerful and inclusive.

Selvaratnam said there has to be a shift in mindset, citing an example that the telecommunications industry should not focus on just connectivity, but rather come up with value-added services to remain relevant.

Regulators also play an important role in innovating and accelerating the deployment of infrastructure, unlike the days of 3G deployment.

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