KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — Malaysia, uniquely located at the heart of Southeast Asia, is well-positioned to be a leader of research in and development of the ethics in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said today.

“It is important that we build the necessary data and AI capabilities to ensure our industries, government and people are able to take advantage of the opportunities being offered,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Next Big Tech Asia 2019 annual conference and exhibition on AI and Data here today.

Emphasising that Malaysia recognises the potential and opportunities that data and AI have to offer, Gobind said that according to a recent study by the International Data Corporation, the Big Data and analytics software market in Malaysia is forecast to reach RM595 million by 2021.


Gobind stressed that three key components — talent, trust and ethics — are required to develop a proper AI and data ecosystem.

“There is a consensus amongst governments, industry leaders and recruitment firms worldwide that there is a global shortage of AI talent. Malaysia, like the rest of the world, needs to develop deeper talent to further grow our AI ecosystem,” he said.

He added that the growth of AI would require big data capabilities and what has been categorised as privacy preservation technologies which would be critical for the continued capitalisation of data.


“Increasingly, we need privacy solutions that can enable data integration across organisational boundaries. We also need more secure solutions, especially new methods of encrypting data on the public cloud,” he added.

With the growing use of AI in our economy and workforce, Gobind believes that it is crucial to proactively address the national cyber security risks holistically and adequately.

He said it could be done through a national strategy, legislation and enforcement, innovation and industry development as well as raising the awareness of the citizens.

“AI must be developed to include the assimilation of ethical values, taking into consideration the interests and well-being of society,” he said.

Gobind added that in building AI capabilities in Malaysia, the government will take a practical approach to get the best returns to investment in the field.

He welcomed the participation of the government, industry partners and the private sector to play key roles to enable the country to compete with developed nations.

Gobind said he believed the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) was capable of playing a key role through close collaborations with industry partners and tertiary institutions to develop talents in AI to meet the needs of the industry.

Malaysia needs more talent strengths to improve the AI technology eco-system and the government will continue to focus on developing talents in the field of AI, he said. — Bernama