Malaysians need to adopt other facets of digital technology, says MDEC
04 Feb 2021
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) aspires that Malaysians adopt other facets of the digital technology, not just the frontline such as e-commerce, but also digitisation of the business processes and all the innovation that come thereafter.
Chief executive officer Surina Shukri said in terms of talent, Malaysia is largely made up of a lot of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) but large companies and corporates have got teams of people that are dedicated to upscaling, reskilling, as well as keeping tabs on latest digital development, and the benefit of numbers.
“We need to think through how we get the benefit of fast learning and learning from each other because most of the time the corporate experience you get to also learn from each other but what we have is that it is smaller companies. The question then becomes how do you create systems and communities that can foster this ongoing training and learning, that is where something that we need to figure out,” she said.
Surina said this at the virtual ‘Google Breakfast Series — Peering into Malaysia’s Digital Future’ alongside other panelists such as Google Malaysia managing director Marc Woo, Grab Malaysia managing director Sean Goh, Maxis chief executive officer Gokhan Ogut, and PitchaEats co-founder Suzanne Ling.
Surina said SMEs must form a network and partnerships with each other to help upscale consumers.
“When we think about the digital world, we think about where we are going. The first thing that we all need to remember — it is not just recent graduates even people in the workforce — need to recognise that now and tomorrow it’s all about skills.
“You have to lead with skills, you need to recognise what kind of skills that we have and start to recognise how to fill in your skills toolbox,” she said.
Citing the MDEC website, she said it has a directory of the skills required for the future such as coding.
“And if you can demonstrate it (coding), you bring your ability to the table, companies will look forward to having you onboard as it is really a skills-based environment,” she said.
She said graduates could thrive in the digital world as long as they have a sense of curiosity and grounded on that.
“For SMEs, they have problems that they need to solve, if you’re able to have a sense of curiosity to understand what the problems are and bring their skillsets, it doesn’t matter what kind of background you actually have, you’re able to contribute to the digital world,” she said.
Concurring that the biggest challenge confronting companies is hiring skilled talent, Ling said a company has to outsource certain intellectual property digital job overseas due to lack of local talent.
“Good talents have been hired by big digital companies in Malaysia. Generally, a lot of people in Malaysia don’t take more initiative to learn the latest update and version, which caused a lot of talent here to be lagging quite behind.
“I’ve spoken to quite a few people, and a lot of people actually shared that the gap in people who are already in the (digital) scene upgrading and upscaling themselves, and keeping themselves updated with the latest programming language, and it is the biggest challenge in small and medium enterprises,” she said.
On digital shift in the next five to 10 years, Grab Malaysia managing director Sean Goh shared that Malaysians will become more and more equal in terms of talent and opportunities.
He said e-hailing has gone fully digital, thanks to Google Maps and Waze, as well as 4G, as members of our hearing-impaired community now receive commercial licences for the first time in our nation’s history to be earning an income flexibly, and that is just the beginning as there is so much we can do.
“We hope to do the same for food and beverages, for example there are so many Quick Response (QR) menus everywhere right now, digital ordering and payments. anyone can do a great job in the service industry, regardless yours are a spoken language or sign language and it doesn’t have to end there in today’s technologies,” said Goh.
Goh said looking ahead in the next five years, companies would be more deliberate in making technologies work for everyone.
“We should have by the end of five years real-time translation between sign and verbal language, as well as between written and spoken language.
“It sounds kind of far fetched but if you look at Google Translate today, when I point my camera I can see and read something in a different language in real-time, so are technologies that enable signs to (become) verbal, written to spoken.
“These changes weren’t wholly deliberate and relied on resourcefulness, for example, a friend of mine at the Malaysian Federation of Deaf told me of a deaf driver who was able to communicate with a blind passenger, and we didn’t plan for that. It’s no credit to us, but its credit to them because they use Grab Chat plus text to voice and voice to text, which is really amazing. “What is cool is that the digital growth has this knock-on effect, a potential to make a change that we didn’t see coming, so just imagine what we could do if we actually turn our mind to it,” he said.