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The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is kicking off its month-long campaign, Malaysia Tech Month 2020 (MTM 2020), this week.

The purpose-built initiative showcases the country’s robust and versatile digital and technology ecosystems. Capitalising on demands and opportunities in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), MTM 2020 –- MDEC’s capstone event –- aims to reinforce Malaysia’s position as a first-mover for the digital economy.

The event is set to attract start-ups, entrepreneurs, corporate organisations, government stakeholders, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and both local and foreign tech sector leadership.

While MTM 2020 has its own conference, it is also the umbrella platform for several events.

These include marque events that MDEC is organising and other tie-in programmes from ecosystem partners. The end-goal for MTM 2020 is to fortify confidence in Malaysia as a compelling digital and tech investment hub.

Key events among the figurehead-led programmes from business, investment and regulatory communities are the data ecosystem-focused DataKITA. There are Pulse conference, Digital Investment Summit, MyDroneTech Festival and TechFest Live! Road to WCIT Malaysia.

Also included in the showcase are Malaysia’s current efforts to produce a future-ready workforce, develop world-first innovations and establish alliances that are fully committed to advancing the digital economy.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said the ministry had constantly pushed the digital economy agenda for the benefit of the people and investors, through various virtual conferences organised by MDEC over the last few months.

“These events include E-Dagang Expo for the e-commerce sector, SME Digital Summit, #MYDigitalWorkforce Week and ongoing Level Up KL 2020 -– all of which took place in the last six months and received overwhelming response, ” he said.

Saifuddin said this clearly showed a surging demand for digital solutions and content that would ensure all Malaysians and local businesses could go digital and be ready to tackle the havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“That is why I am excited about Malaysia TechMonth as we will experience first-hand, albeit virtually, the great lengths this country has taken to grow and transform its digital economy and embrace its role as a first-mover for the digital world.

“This is a clarion call for global digital and tech industries to consider Malaysia as the go-to for digital sector investments, ” he added.

Based on current figures from the Statistics Department, digital economy is expected to contribute 20% to the economy by 2020 with the e-commerce sector expecting to exceed RM110bil in revenue in the same period.

This is equivalent to 40% of the nation’s digital economy.

With 4IR-powered technologies and innovations like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) proliferating and catalysing shifts in consumption, daily activities, lifestyles and workspace operations, there is a heightened need to ensure that all segments of society can effectively participate and reap the benefits of digitalisation.

“Malaysia is well on its way to integrate digital technologies into all areas of its economy, and MDEC believes the next step is to carve Malaysia’s position as the ‘Heart of Digital Asean’, ” said MDEC chief executive officer Surina Shukri.

“MTM 2020 best demonstrates our strategic interventions as the ‘winning formula’ that will set the course forward for Malaysia, bringing the country closer to becoming an exemplary, digitally-powered nation that will thrive in the 4IR and deliver shared prosperity for all, ” she added.

As the capstone event, MTM 2020 will further reinforce MDEC’s efforts to drive forward its three core pillars –- foster digitally-skilled talent and improve their readiness, forge digitally-powered businesses en route to being global tech champions, and further empower an investor-friendly environment in the digital sector.

The latter is the most critical as it quickly and seamlessly facilitates foreign investments and, at the same time, is highly supportive of multinational expansion efforts into the Asean economic zone.

“The digital transformation of a nation can be described as a journey, requiring specific initiatives to reach key demographics and meet those unique needs, ” said Surina.

“As is, there must now be a crucial driver to boost economic growth as expectations are high for the digital economy to steer the nation in this pandemic-impacted economy into 2021.

“MDEC, via MTM 2020, will continue to serve as an extension of the government’s ongoing efforts to spur the digital economy.”