Malaysia sees rise in digital investments
25 Aug 2023
By DATUK WIRA ARHAM ABDUL RAHMAN
IN an extraordinary decade-long transformation, Malaysia has made progress in its transformation towards the digital economy.
With over 30 established data centres and a flurry of upcoming projects, Malaysia is set to revolutionise the digital landscape.
Recognising the potential of the digital economy, the Malaysia Investment Development Authority (Mida) has approved seven data centres, data hosting, and cloud-computing services projects, attracting a total investment of RM75.87bil from 2021 to March 2023, surpassing the target of RM70bil in digitalisation investment set as part of the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint’s (MyDIGITAL) strategies by 2025.
Through these approved investments, Mida estimates the generation of 440 new jobs, with more than 80% being niche and specialised positions.
Roles such as data scientists, data analysts, and data engineers, requiring high skills, significant training, and professional qualifications, will drive the digital workforce forward.
Recently, I mentioned that Malaysia is riding on billions of ringgit in investment pledges, including major players like Amazon Web Services, ByteDance System, Bridge Data Centres, GDS IDC, and Malaysia’s YTL Data Centre. Thus, the nation is poised to embark on an exceptionally ambitious investment promotion strategy.
The rapid growth of Malaysia’s digital economy can be attributed to several factors. At the heart of Malaysia’s digital transformation are MyDIGITAL and the Digital Investment Office (DIO).
These strategic initiatives underscore the country’s unwavering commitment to growing the economy through digital technology. MyDIGITAL sets the stage for a holistic digital transformation, while the DIO acts as a catalyst, facilitating investments in digitalisation.
Together, they create an ecosystem that fosters innovation, collaboration, and attracts businesses and investors from all corners of the globe. The country has positioned itself strongly in the digital landscape and has consistently strived to become an innovation-driven economy.
In the 2023 IMD World Competitiveness Ranking, Malaysia secured the 27th spot, with key strengths in prices, basic infrastructure and tax policies.
The opportunities are immense for Malaysia. With deep-rooted bilateral relations with global powers, Malaysia adopts an inclusive foreign-policy approach, positioning itself as a neutral venue for businesses and investments.
This unique advantage creates an attractive environment for global collaboration and paves the way for remarkable growth and opportunities.
In order to be part of the data value chain, from processing, analytics, storage, to security and intellectual property, there is a need for connectivity and data centres to be present in Malaysia. While foreign companies like NEXTDC Ltd, Bridge Data Centre and Amazon have made significant contributions, local players are also making waves.
YTL DC South Sdn Bhd
YTL DC South is a key local player that has joined forces with Sea Ltd for the development of the Sea Data Center.
As part of the 500MW YTL Green Data Center Park, this RM1.5bil investment in Johor, Malaysia, will be a Tier III certified facility equipped with the best-in-class green power and connectivity.
Datuk Yeoh Seok Hong, managing director of YTL Power, envisions this YTL Green Data Center Park to be the largest and most successful of its kind in Asia, contributing to Malaysia’s digital economy initiatives.
Australia’s NEXTDC LtdNEXTDC Ltd, an ASX-listed data centre operator, has unveiled plans to construct its inaugural overseas facility, known as KL1; in the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur.
Spanning 10ha of land in the heart of the Klang Valley metropolitan region, which is a significant economic centre in Malaysia, the facility aims to cater to the region’s growing digital demands.
This project entails a substantial investment of RM3bil spread over a five to 10-year period, reaffirming NEXTDC’s commitment to bolstering Malaysia’s digital infrastructure and stimulating economic growth in the country.
“Malaysia has been chosen as the first destination for the company’s overseas footprint with the construction of KL1.
“The company will also commit to digital skilling and educational initiatives to help empower Malaysia’s information and communications technology and digital workforce to drive Malaysia’s competitive advantage in Asia,” said NEXTDC.
Elliance Sdn Bhd
Elliance is another local frontrunner, leading the charge in agricultural technology.
Its Smart Farming platform incorporates AI-powered precision farming systems, intelligent fertigation and irrigation systems, and AI machine vision for plant health monitoring and pest and insect detection. This integrated system, including enterprise resource planning capabilities, significantly enhances farmers’ land management efficiency.
“Through our Smart Farming platform, we’re dedicated to revolutionising agriculture and promoting sustainable practices in response to the pressing issues of climate change and food security,” said Cheng Boon Seng, director of Elliance.
Elliance’s commitment to addressing the imminent challenges of global warming, food security, and population growth through Smart Farming technology will contribute to sustainable and environmentally conscious agriculture.
Why Malaysia continues to thrive
Malaysia needs to continuously transform and innovate to become a prosperous and resilient digital nation.
Digitalisation, technology adoption and innovation are essential for sustainable economic growth. The government has set a target in the 12th Malaysia Plan of achieving a digital economy contribution to gross domestic product of at least 25.5% by 2025.
This target is ambitious but achievable with the right policies and investments.
The ability to seize opportunities emerging from innovative technologies and business models plays an important role in driving new engines of the country’s economic growth.
The country’s focus on digital investments, along with its commitment to environmental, social and governance, through the National Investment Aspirations and the New Investment Plan, further reinforces its efforts to leverage innovative technologies and business models for economic growth.
Datuk Wira Arham Abdul Rahman is chief executive officer of Mida. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.
Source: The Star