Image credit: Berita Harian

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is poised for a future driven by innovation and technologies, with 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) at the heart of its economic trajectory.

According to Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chief technology and innovation officer Shamsul Izhan Abdul Majid, while 5G is often associated with faster internet, its potential for more impactful nation-building activities extends beyond mere speed.

"This is not just about enhancing personal communications; it's about leveraging technology to address broader societal challenges and fostering sustainable development for the nation's future," he said in a statement.

With the rapidly evolving digital landscape, MCMC continually updates its policies and frameworks to ensure Malaysia remains at the forefront of technological advancements.

IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Catherine Lian said the Madani Economy framework serves as testimony to the nation's commitment to innovative technologies and nurturing a culture of high productivity.

"In this digital age, resilience and advancement are driven by technological innovation and superior productivity.

"With 5G, Malaysia is facilitating closer collaboration between humans and machines to realise improved safety protocols, enhanced productivity, and more conducive lifestyles for the rakyat," she said.

"Further, an IBM and Morning Consult study reveals the impact of 5G to drive digital transformation, with 77 per cent of correspondents saying 5G will help fasten AI applications and automation while 75 said it helps to integrate the supply chain fully," she added.

Shamsul and Catherine spoke at an industry panel discussion entitled Advancing Manufacturing with 5G held in conjunction with MCMC's 5G TechVerse event recently.

According to Catherine, AI-powered solutions were instrumental in jump-starting Malaysia's Industry 4.0 journey.

"Despite global challenges, the Malaysian manufacturing sector remains instrumental to our country's ongoing growth, contributing substantially to export revenue and employment," said Catherine, referencing a 2022 Statista report that revealed the sector's contribution of 23.4 per cent to Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP).

Emphasising the shift in manufacturing practices, she added that efficiency and automation are evident.

"Integrating Industry 4.0 technologies, especially cloud computing, AI and 5G connectivity, is vital for optimised decision-making and enhanced quality assurance," she said.

Catherine also cited a successful case study called SMART Modular Technologies held in Penang as a prime example of how AI-powered manufacturing solutions would eventually dominate the Malaysian Industry 4.0 landscape.

"SMART's move towards a highly digitised manufacturing operation, powered by IBM Maximo Visual Inspection and AI-infused collaborative robots, is a benchmark for others to emulate," she said.

"As a result, this manufacturing company realised a 10 per cent increase in production yield and a 20 per cent surge in overall throughput," she said.

Hence, for Malaysia to successfully navigate its digital trajectory, it is imperative to seamlessly blend 5G, AI, machine learning and edge computing.

"It is not merely about amalgamating technologies. It's setting 5G as the central catalyst, amplifying operational efficacy to unprecedented levels," said Catherine.

"At IBM, we focus not just on uniting 5G, edge computing, AI, and automation. Rather, it is about unlocking their combined potential to make smart manufacturing a tangible reality – and ensuring 5G is fully harnessed to enhance Malaysia's productivity and national competitiveness," she said.