Dr M: Ministries, govt agencies involved in export promotion must reduce bureaucracy

Dr Mahathir said Matrade and its stakeholders must be able to adapt to changes and operate in a fast-changing world economy. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
Dr Mahathir said Matrade and its stakeholders must be able to adapt to changes and operate in a fast-changing world economy. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Ministries and government agencies involved in various export promotion programmes in the overseas market should be prepared to give up or share responsibilities in order to reduce bureaucratic procedures.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said there was bound to be redundancies and overlaps as many ministries and agencies were involved in such activities. 

“We need to work harder and smarter. The role of Matrade (Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation) is to ensure that trade contributes to inclusive and sustainable growth through the exchanges of goods and services,” he said in his speech at Matrade’s 25th anniversary gala dinner here today.

His speech was read by the International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking.

Dr Mahathir said Matrade and its stakeholders must be able to adapt to changes and operate in a fast-changing world economy and evolving megatrends, which included the emergence of disruptive technologies and other technological advances, new versions of free trade agreements, imposition of trade barriers in the name of environmental protection, urbanisation and climate change.

“We need to take cognisance that the real impacts and headwinds of the current crises have yet to fully unfold. What we are facing now could be only reverberations. Tougher times might be ahead of us,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said the country needed to be prepared and become resilient, as it would continue to encounter many other challenges in the years to come.

“As such, we need to strengthen our economic growth by enhancing productivity and increasing competitiveness of the industries. Industry 4.0 is upon us. We need to continuously improve and harness the ecosystems of business support to offer innovative, seamless and integrated solutions for our stakeholders,” he added.

The prime minister said the digital revolution was creating new opportunities in the world market, advancing from a simple business tool in the confines of office to digital transformation and the Internet of things, which had shaped daily lives and had comprehensively permeated into the way people did business as a whole.

“This is an era where a simple entrepreneur from a rural area in Malaysia can export his product to the far-flung parts of the world just by clicking a few buttons on his computer or mobile phone.

“Ultimately, Malaysia can only benefit from this venture if we take full advantage of this digital transformation via the policy on Industry 4.0, simply known as Industry4WRD,” he added.

Dr Mahathir said Industry4WRD (pronounced “Industry Forward”) was the call for digital transformation and to facilitate companies that wanted to embrace Industry 4.0 in a systematic and comprehensive manner, driven by people, process and technology.

He said this policy envisioned Malaysia as a strategic partner for smart manufacturing, primary destination for hi-tech industries and total solution provider for manufacturing sector and services in the region.

“The presence of various business-to-business and business-to-company e-commerce platforms has opened up more markets for Malaysian entrepreneurs. It is an effective platform that provides greater exposure for small and medium enterprises to export and to reach distant consumers,” he noted.

The prime minister also urged Matrade to focus on trade with developing nations.

“We must have noticed how developed nations have always been involved with developing countries. It must be because doing business with developing countries is profitable,” he explained.

Due to this, he said, Matrade must continue to invest and build on the necessary expertise in big data analytics.

“I must emphasise that Matrade must be more than just a trade promoter but rather a data-driven organisation for its promotion activities. At the present time, big data is very useful. We will know what people want and we can supply them with their needs,” he said. — Bernama

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