KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — The federal government plans to implement four key strategies to address issues related to innovation and technology adoption, coordination among agencies, investment in high-end Research and Development (R&D) as well as talent in frontier technology.

The Mid-Term Review of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs today, disclosed that local firms, especially Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) continued to face the said issues.

Therefore, initiatives would be undertaken to encourage these business entities, to move up the value chain and become globally competitive.

The initiatives are aimed at boosting innovation and promoting the adoption of latest technology to accelerate economic growth, and strategies to harness the 4IR to boost productivity and competitiveness, increase technology adoption to produce high value-added products, align research and innovation to accelerate innovation-driven growth, while enhancing capacity building to increase skilled workforce.

The report said SME contribution to the GDP remained low at 37.1 per cent in 2017 despite being the largest source of employment and the majority still relied on low technology and engaged in low value-added activities.

“In this regard, initiatives will continue to be undertaken to create dynamic SMEs, which are globally competitive and able to produce high value-added goods and services.

“Hence, in the remaining Eleventh Malaysia Plan period from 2018-2020, the government will roll-out initiatives, which include upgrading capacity and capability of SMEs, encourage digitalisation among them, well as accelerate the application of technology in the construction and agriculture sectors,” it added.

For the agriculture sector, initiatives would be undertaken to strengthen the collaborative efforts in the designing and customisation of training programmes to increase employability of graduates in the agro-food sub-sector.

Training programmes will be customised and widened to include agronomy, soil science, diseases and entomology, bioengineering, food technology and nutraceuticals.

“School leavers will be encouraged to enrol in agricultural-based Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes to increase the supply of skilled workforce in the agriculture sector.

“The availability of skilled workers will enable the adoption of modern agriculture practices and increase productivity of the sector,” the report said.

The report was presented in Parliament today by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. — Bernama