'More AI experts needed to transform public sector'February 24, 2018 @ 10:48AM
By FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR AND IRWAN SHAFRIZAN ISMAIL
PUTRAJAYA: The public service sector will need more data scientists and data management experts as part of the Public Service Transformation (PST) 2.0 programme.
Public Service Department (PSD) director-general Tan Sri Zainal Rahim Seman said the government would need more civil servants with skills compatible with artificial intelligence.
“We have to face challenges from mega trends, such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). We cannot be left behind by assuming that transformation will happen by itself.
“Malaysia is going through urbanisation. What will happen if Malaysia becomes more urbanised? What generation will live in these cities? How can we provide services to urban people? What will happen to rural areas? These are the things that we have to think about.
“Hence, we need to equip ourselves with skills that are compatible with artificial intelligence, as well as have knowledge in big data management and Internet of Things.
“That’s why we need more data scientists and data management experts. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak once said the public service scheme of today may not be relevant in the future,” he said during a special press interview at his office.
Zainal said the department would need to create more relevant jobs in the future and optimise resources.
He said people should not be afraid of becoming jobless as the use of robots increased because there were jobs in other fields.
“Although we expect more robots to replace humans, they (the robots) still need to be managed by humans. Hence, it is important to have data and robotic knowledge.
“Maybe there will be better jobs with better income in the future because there will be demand for data scientists and data management experts.
“These are among the challenges we need to deal with. We need to develop a framework and know the people’s priorities.”
He said another important element in PST 2.0 was the collaboration between parties in implementing the government’s programmes.
“The government cannot work alone to make a programme successful as we need participation from everybody. For instance, we may need non-governmental organisations or experts from community-based programmes to beautify and clean community areas, and no longer rely on local authorities.
“It is high time communities take part in cleaning their areas. Maybe we will give them an allocation from our funds for that.”
Asked if civil servants were ready to face the challenges in implementing PTS 2.0, Zainal said the department would design a blueprint as a guidance.
“Whether they like it or not, they have to be prepared.
“We have done the first phase of PTS and we have to move forward.”