The prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said adoption of cloud technology has been proven fundamental to an organisation's digital transformation after chairing the 29th Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting. Pix by Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today unveiled the nation’s ‘to-do list’ which will further boost Malaysia’s digital initiatives implementation as well as its economy.

One of the initiatives is the introduction of the "Cloud First" Strategy to the national agenda, beginning with the public sector.

The prime minister said adoption of cloud technology has been proven fundamental to an organisation's digital transformation.

“Cloud adoption will enable the government to rapidly deliver innovative public sector services to the rakyat without incurring high levels of capital expenditure to invest in IT infrastructure such as data centres, servers and storage.

“This enables the government to allocate resources for more impactful programmes for the rakyat. With this strategy in place, there is no doubt the government is taking the lead in embracing digital transformation,” he said after chairing the 29th Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting today.

Najib said the government can also facilitate cloud adoption by the private sector, and added that Malaysia would develop its own National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Framework.

This, he said, will be an expansion of the National Big Data Analytics Framework. Its development will be led by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

“In a hyper-connected world , it is becoming abundantly clear that AI is the defining force of the fourth industrial revolution.

“AI could well be a game-changer in improving the lives of Malaysians,” he said.

The prime minister said he looked forward to another important milestone for Malaysia on Nov 3 - the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) initiative.

DFTZ, launched in March, will provide physical and virtual zones to facilitate small-medium enterprises to capitalise on the convergence of exponential growth of the internet economy and cross-border e-commerce activities.

It will act as a microcosm to support internet companies to trade goods, provide services, innovate and co-create solutions.

One factor to grow the nation's digital economy, Najib said, was building the right talent pool as the ‘competitive weapon’ needed lies in talent development.

The prime minister expressed his pleasure at the progress of the MyDigitalMaker movement and said he was inspired by young talents such 12-year-old Ariff Amir Ali, who had developed Internet of Things (IoT) prototypes since the age of 10.

He was also upbeat over the progress of another initiative, the Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (M-TEP), which he said had global appeal.

“We have received applications from entrepreneurs from more than 10 countries including Germany, India, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.”

On a wider industry-level, the prime minister hoped to accelerate digital adoption by establishing the Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme (D-TAP) for large and mid-tier companies, which had contributed 63.4 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

“We have started our digital transformation, but our industries are still far from being digitally-ready. The challenges noted include a lack of structured approach, budget limitations, shortage of digital workers as well as the perception that digital transformation is too fast-paced and complex.

“To accelerate the transformation, we will appoint Digital Transformation Labs to provide consultancy and assist in prototyping new digital products and services. The labs will then match participating companies to digital companies,” Najib said.

This outcome-driven programme intends to achieve three main outcomes - increased productivity, reduction in foreign labour dependency, as well as creating a new business model or source of growth for the participating companies, he added.

He cited Top Glove as an example, whereby the company, by digitising its chemical testing line, effectively removed its dependency on foreign workers and reduced unplanned downtime by 100 per cent.