KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — Digitalisation and automation offer huge opportunities to ASEAN Plus Three countries, as evidenced by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the pandemic has taught the country on the importance of building and enhancing the technological infrastructure.
“Indeed, the proceedings of the ASEAN Summit, including this very session, is direct testimony of the intensity and magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 on our digital transformation.
“Nevertheless, these new technologies also bring challenges, including the need to combat growing inequality, the spike in cyber threats and the imperative to support those displaced by new technologies, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in ASEAN,” he said in his intervention speech during the virtual ASEAN+3 Leaders Interface with Representative of East Asia Business Council (EABC) hosted by Vietnam today.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia supports the survey finding of the EABC conducted in collaboration with the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) towards promoting innovation and e-commerce in East Asia.
Furthermore, he said it is clear that the sectors most affected by the pandemic, namely those relying on extensive in-person contact, would face a long and difficult path to recovery.
“In this regard, we have allocated funds to encourage MSMEs to upgrade to automation systems and equipment, to comply with the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
“In line with this, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has been tasked to expand broadband coverage to improve internet connectivity in 25 industrial areas,” he said.
The Prime Minister said Malaysia will focus on long-term productivity through the use of cutting-edge technology to accelerate the transformation towards a high-income economy.
He said Malaysia further welcomes EABC’s work in helping to facilitate the MSME development through the launch of 13 e-Books on East Asia Customs Practices in January 2020, and to officially launch the second e-Books on East Asia Investment Practices by 2021.
“We also hope that EABC would continuously engage with ASEAN Plus Three policy makers and contribute ideas and recommendations for the future of this region,” he said.