Pikom: Apec’s developed economies must support countries trailing in digital economy

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) and Microsoft President Brad Smith having a virtual meeting during the Apec CEO Dialogues 2020, ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ summit in Kuala Lumpur, November 20, 2020. — Malaysia Department of Information handout pic via AFP
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) and Microsoft President Brad Smith having a virtual meeting during the Apec CEO Dialogues 2020, ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ summit in Kuala Lumpur, November 20, 2020. — Malaysia Department of Information handout pic via AFP
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (Apec) developed economies must comprehensively support countries trailing in the digital economy in order to accelerate their digital transformation and innovation process, the National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom) said.

Chairman Danny Lee said business-to-business and government-to-government partnerships must also be well strategised to fully maximise the digital agenda in the Covid-19 era and help the region recover from the pandemic.

“One way to advance digital economy in Malaysia and the region is by ensuring the inclusion of both entrepreneurs and consumers through continuous engagement between the government, industry and technology providers who can assist in the development of the digitalisation journey,” he told Bernama.

He said Apec leaders’ consistent emphasis on the importance of digitalisation in their keynote addresses at the Apec CEO Dialogues 2020 is the only path forward for any economy.

“Malaysia is proud to have a government that is leading this journey with the industry,” he said.

Lee said Malaysia should also focus on improving the Internet penetration, particularly with the Southeast Asian Internet economy’s gross merchandise value across online travel, e-commerce, online media, and ride hailing sectors having leapt nearly 40 per cent from last year to exceed US$100 billion (RM409 billion).

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the adaptation of digital economy and continuous innovation had proven to be the need of the time to generate jobs and for businesses to remain relevant amid the unprecedented challenges following the health pandemic.

In his keynote address at the virtual Apec CEO Dialogues 2020, he said innovation and digitalisation were enablers that not only facilitate efforts to reinvigorate economic activities but also safeguard the health and well-being of the people.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic had shown that technology could step-in and sustain the communities even when their movement are restricted.

“However, without sufficient infrastructure and close cooperation between the public and private sectors, we run the risk of excluding vulnerable groups due to their lack of access to digital tools.

“Promoting digital inclusion and narrowing the digital divide by increasing investments in ICT (information and communications technology) infrastructure for these groups is therefore, a must,” said Muhyiddin.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the promotion of digital transformation was a key priority in his administration.

 “As people’s behavioural patterns shift due to Covid-19, accelerating digital transformation is crucial. I will establish an agency in charge of digital transformation to serve as a command in the government.

“I will thoroughly review regulations hindering digital transformation and swiftly undertake relevant reforms, unleashing the potential of the private sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern said all Apec economies needed to make the right choices to ensure that everyone could connect, have the right skills to thrive in the digital world and that the cooperation has the right frameworks in place to support trade and competition.

“As we look to build back better from Covid-19, this is a huge area of focus for New Zealand.

“This year, for instance, we created a Digital Economy Partnership Agreement with Chile and Singapore to help our exporters and small and medium enterprises take advantage of opportunities from digital trade. We are committed to making New Zealand a truly digital nation,” she added. — Bernama

 

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