Malaysia 5.0 ― A National 4IR Policy ― Rais Hussin

MAY 30 ― “Between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world” ― McKinsey Global Institute

Malaysia 5.0 outlines a problem-solving approach to society’s challenges and problems through the deployment and implementation of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies which integrates both physical and digital environments.

The term “Society 5.0” describes the next stage of the evolution of societal communities, following the hunting society (Society 1.0), agricultural society (Society 2.0), industrial society (Society 3.0), and information society (Society 4.0). The key differentiation of Society 5.0 (the digital age) from Society 4.0 (the information age) is the convergence of the virtual world with the physical world.

Covid-19 has accelerated the migration of society from physical infrastructures onto digital infrastructures, but Society 5.0 holds the promise to bring these back together through the use of 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), blockchain and digital assets (FinTech).

A National 4IR Policy is needed to create a new narrative for Malaysia as an innovation economy that can compete in a disruptive technology world, serve as a springboard into ASEAN, bridge Asia, Middle East and Africa, and interconnect with the 1.8 billion Islamic population worldwide.

A National 4IR Policy will support emerging technologies such as Blockchain, AI, IoT and Robotics, which are all essential tools in the new Malaysia 5.0 digital economy. If such a policy is missing from our National strategy, Malaysia will be left behind and excluded from digital ecosystems and workforces.

Because of its ubiquitous reach, 4IR technologies raise all kinds of concerns, but actually with proper guidance these can be used to create a better life for all, including new and more meaningful jobs, reskilling of the workforce, better health and education, and smarter and greener cities.

Malaysia 5.0 can contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy, where greater well-being is possible for all citizens regardless of age, ethnicity, and class. In the face of such major changes, countries have an urgent need to develop a comprehensive policy that enables them to create a more inclusive and caring society for all.

A starting point for National 4IR Policy is a designated hub that connects 4IR companies in Malaysia to the rest of the world, with strong regulatory and strategic oversight and direction.

The policy framework must be aligned with ongoing programs at Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Communication and Multimedia (MCM), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysian Investment Development Agency (MIDA), Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank), Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and other government and statutory bodies.

Whilst there is a lot of personal and economic pain being caused by the current pandemic, after months of quarantine, with both companies and households in survival to restart mode, there will ultimately be an end to the crisis. The ensuing recovery relies largely upon a properly managed acceleration of 4IR technologies.

Malaysia 5.0 is an opportunity to pro-actively design the blueprint for converging the digital and physical worlds to overcome social challenges, improve productivity and create new markets. From the dust, a new way of doing things will emerge and we will not only become more resilient as a society but also more robust as a global world economy.

* Dr Rais Hussin is President and CEO of EMIR Research, an independent think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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