Malaysian companies resist investing in digitalisation

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian companies still resist investing in digitalisation, particularly in the initial take-up, despite rising awareness, said Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong.

He said this was quite common in most countries, especially in Industry 4.0 adoption, hence, the government intended to have a blueprint to tailor its five-year plan and budget to encourage companies to embrace digitalisation.

“We are more concerned with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as big companies are more aware of market trends. For their (SMEs) sustainability, they need to evolve in the pathway of digitalisation,” he told reporters at the Siemens Conference themed “Shaping Digitalisation – Malaysia and Siemens” yesterday.

Chua said according to a survey by SME Corporation on SMEs in terms of Internet adoption and digitalisation readiness a year ago, their awareness increased from 18 per cent to about 30 per cent.

Constant engagement with the government and its agencies has helped SMEs to be aware of the need to change as that the fourth industrial revolution is no longer a possibility, he said.

“Some businesses still assume that Industry 4.0 is not coming and could prevent this as the government could block and shelter this wind of change in the whole business environment, “ he said.

Chua said there would be challenges, even roadblocks, in term of infrastructure and ecosystem readiness, funding, incentives, and critical human capital development.

“Therefore, it is imperative to understand and continuously analyse our strengths to determine the best supporting policies that the government could facilitate and provide in the way forward of this paradigm shift,” he added.

Meanwhile, Siemens AG Managing board member for Region Asia/Australia Cedrik Neike said Siemens was not only looking into digitalising its capabilities but more of building ecosystems in working with countries they were in and this included bringing a lot of SMEs on board.

The biggest part of digitalisation is the idea of building the ecosystem whereby the big companies would help bring the impetus and SMEs would take it onboard and actually scaling it into bigger ways, he said.

On another note, Nieke described Malaysia’s skill level as “OK” with new graduates having better education on digital technologies but existing employees at large would need reskilling to embrace new eras.

The existing employees skill sets needs to be improved to next levels or else the businesses will not be able to move to the next platform, he said. — Bernama

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