Najib: Being innovative, entrepreneurial key to Malaysia’s future

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 9, 2017.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s sustainable and inclusive future will depend not only on good economic policies and decision-making process, but also involves integrating new technologies while being an innovative and entrepreneurial society, including in the e-commerce space.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the National eCommerce Strategic Roadmap, spearheaded by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp, has been mandated to map out actionable programmes that lead to Malaysian businesses becoming global e-commerce champions.

“With the government’s intervention via the road map, we are aiming to double [the] growth [of the e-commerce sector] to 20.8% per annum to RM170 billion in 2020,” he said at the launch of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) Economic Forum 2017 here yesterday. At the event, the prime minister also launched the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia’s (MCMM) “Dewan Digital Economy”.

According to MCMM president Rizal Faris Mohideen Abdul Kadir, this initiative provides the chamber’s members with a digital economy platform, including social media, e-wallets, crowdfunding, and the Malaysian Fintech Hub, a regional financial technology hub.

“The digital economy era will significantly change our business landscape. We must be prepared to seize the opportunities created by this transformation,” said Rizal Faris.

“Malaysians need to change from being mere consumers of digital products to becoming producers in the digital economy. That is what we meant by ‘Everyone can make money’.”

NCCIM president Datuk Ter Leong Yap said the association is hoping the government would also consider reducing the corporate income tax, address the high costs of doing business and review the Employment Insurance System.

“In addition, appropriate incentives, including capital allowances, should be granted to promote innovation, digital technology adoption and e-commerce,” he said.

Najib said unlocking productivity is another critical factor to boost high growth potential and sustain Malaysia’s competitiveness.

To address the nation’s decelerating productivity growth in recent years, he said, the government has formulated the Malaysia Productivity Blueprint aimed at doubling productivity growth to 3.7% per annum under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

Meanwhile, Najib said China’s One Belt, One Road initiative would be a game changer for the regional economy, creating enormous trade and investment prospects through greater connectivity via links by sea and land. — Bernama