Embracing AI and IR4.0 - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
contrastBtngrayscaleBtn oku-icon


plusBtn crossBtn minusBtn


This site
is mobile


Embracing AI and IR4.0

Embracing AI and IR4.0

15 Apr 2024

Malaysia can propel its economic engine and become a leading innovation hub in the region by embracing AI and addressing existing challenges.

Through fostering collaboration between public and private sectors, investing in talent development and prioritising AI implementation, Malaysia can unlock the true potential of this transformative technology and become more competitive.

Malaysia is at the forefront of AI with its policies and various initiatives. Its digital economy is on course to hit its goal of contributing more than 25.5% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.

Unlike in the past, these initiatives will synch with the implementation from its government-linked companies and timely actions from the private sector.

The benefits of AI to industries in Malaysia:

Innovation acceleration: AI can analyse vast amounts of data to identify patterns and trends humans may miss. This fuels innovation by helping companies develop new products, services and business models. Companies that do not leverage AI for innovation risk falling behind in the race to develop the next big thing.

Efficiency edge: AI automates repetitive tasks, analyses data faster and optimises processes. Companies that integrate AI can significantly increase productivity and reduce costs, thereby raising profits. Imagine a manufacturing plant using AI to optimise its processes and then using an e-commerce platform using AI to streamline order fulfilment. Those who lag will struggle to compete with the efficiency gains of AI-powered businesses.

Customer experience revolution: AI personalises customer experiences by understanding their needs and preferences. This translates to targeted marketing, custom recommendations and improved customer service. Imagine a travel agency using AI to curate personalised vacation packages or a retailer using AI to recommend products based on a customer’s past purchases. Companies that do not leverage AI risk losing ground to competitors who cater to individual customer needs.

Disruption from AI-first companies: Entirely new businesses built around AI can emerge, disrupting traditional industries. Think of companies like Grab that revolutionised transportation, food delivery and parcel courier services. Industries that do not adapt to the changing landscape with AI can be blindsided by entirely new competitors.


Below are some of the grants available for AI implementation and other industry innovations:

Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti):

Mosti plays a central role in promoting AI development in Malaysia. They oversee the National AI Strategy, which includes initiatives that may provide indirect support for AI implementation. Keep an eye on Mosti’s website (https://www.mosti.gov.my/en/) for updates on funding programmes related to AI.

Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (Mdec):

Mdec actively supports digital transformation across various industries. While they may not have specific grants solely for AI implementation, they offer programmes that can be relevant depending on your project’s focus. Explore Mdec’s website (https://mdec.my/) for funding opportunities under initiatives such as the Digital Transformation Grant or the Global Innovation and Tech Alliance.

Other research granting bodies:

Explore grant opportunities offered by other public research bodies such as:

Fundamental research grant scheme: Administered by the Higher Education Ministry (https://www.mohe.gov.my/en), this scheme supports fundamental research across various disciplines, potentially including AI-related projects within universities.

Science Fund: Managed by Mosti, the fund provides grants for research projects in various scientific fields, potentially aligning with some AI initiatives.

MyDigital Corporation

MyDigital Corporation was incorporated in September 2021 as a strategic change management office to drive the execution of initiatives under the Malaysian Digital Economic Blueprint and the National IR4.0 policy.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0)

Malaysia established Asean’s first centre for IR4.0, known as the Malaysian Centre 4IR. The role of this centre is to create a foundation to harness IR4.0 and:

Connect Malaysia to leading global 4IR practices to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies.

Serve as the IR4.0 International Cooperation and Partnership Development.

Position Malaysia as an IR4.0 innovation hub.

Enable access to top experts, innovators and policy leaders.

Expose companies to cutting-edge technology governance and adoption

Act as a global platform that drives a multi-stakeholder ecosystem to facilitate the development of policy frameworks across centres around the world.

Act as a focal point between government agencies and the private sector to problem-solve issues.

Provide support for pilot projects, knowledge transfer and talent development.


The Malaysian Autonomous Intelligence and Robotics Association (MyAira) is a non-profit association founded in 2021. Its main objectives are to accelerate innovation in the AI and Robotics sector, connect entrepreneurs and start-ups in their initial steps and be a catalyst toward better national policies, legislation and regulations in AI and robotics.

MyAira is an international collaboration platform based in Malaysia, nurturing related ecosystems by:

Providing a collective platform for expressing common industry concerns in promoting robotics, digital workforce, unmanned vehicles and artificial and autonomous intelligence.

Promoting research and development in autonomous intelligence, robotics, digital human workforce augmentation, unmanned vehicles and cybersecurity while giving a consultative voice in technical solutions and services.

Promoting and organising trade missions, events, exhibitions, conferences, virtual events and webinars to accelerate global trade and collaboration with industry associations globally.

Promoting awareness and education of AI in educational institutions and to the public at large.

Providing a collective voice of the related industries to contribute to governments on regulatory issues.

AI is not just a trend, it is a transformative force. While implementing AI comes with challenges, the benefits are undeniable.

Companies that embrace AI early stand to gain a competitive advantage. The longer an industry waits, the higher the risk of falling behind and becoming obsolete. The urgency for industries to adopt AI stems from the immense potential it offers to revolutionise efficiency, innovation and customer experience.

The writer is the Chief Mind Unzipper and founder of Mindbloom Consulting.

Source: The Sun