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Economy to be reinforced, attract investment and innovation

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will continue to stimulate the country's economic activities with focus placed on knowledge-intensive service sectors, accelerating innovation and technology adoption, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"The economic growth momentum will be reinforced by spurring economic activity and promoting private investment.

"Focus will be given to strengthening the fundamentals of the economy based on innovation, creativity and high-value added activities towards enhancing productivity and industry competitiveness," he said when presenting the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan 2016-2020 in Parliament here today.

The prime minister also said the services sector would be the main driver of the country's economic growth, as such, knowledge-intensive service sectors would be enhanced.

Strengthening economic growth is one of the six pillars outlined by him as the government's main priority and new emphasis for the 2018-2020 period.

He also said efforts would be stepped up to create a dynamic ecosystem, promote the adoption of latest technologies and e-commerce, as well as, leverage on the digital platform to promote products and services to penetrate the international market.

In this regard, Malaysia would be rebranded as a major tourist destination by strategically positioning local eco-tourism products to attract more tourists.

Mahathir also said the transition of the manufacturing sector towards the production of high-value, diversified and complex products would be greatly encouraged.

"Manufacturing sub-sectors with high potential growth, namely aerospace and medical devices, will also take precedence.

"The industry needs to increase productivity by accelerating the use of robotics, automation and innovation, conduct research and development besides implementing sustainable production practices," he added.

The government, the prime said, was aware of the pivotal role small and medium enterprises assumed in the national economy. As such, efforts to create a resilient and sustainable SME sector will continue to be implemented.

The goal is to increase SME contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 41% in 2020, he said.

"SME contribution to exports will also be enhanced through the internationalisation of initiatives and export promotion," he added.

The premier also said the government would also accelerate innovation and adoption of technology in order for the country to utilise the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

"Hence, the national policy framework on 4IR will be formulated to promote innovation, creativity and competitiveness in the face of the rapidly expanding digital revolution," he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the National Policy on Industry 4.0 ( 2018-2025) which would outline the action plan for industrial technology related to Industry 4.0, would be launched to improve productivity and competitiveness of the manufacturing sector.

Emphasis would also be focused on several areas like biotechnology, nanotechnology, digital technology, green technology and neuro technology which would fuel the progress of science, technology and innovation.

The government would also ensure that the infrastructure provided is of high quality in terms of integration, coverage and connectivity as well as capacity and sustainability.

To reinforce cross regional connectivity, the construction of expressways outside the Klang Valley would continue to be given priority, among others, continuing the implementation of the Central Spine Road and the Kota Baru-Kuala Krai Expressway, he said.

"Besides, the expansion of terminals, the extension of runways and the enhancement of facilities for selected airports will be implemented. For example, upgrading facilities at the Langkawi International Airport, " said Mahathir who is also the Member of Parliament for Langkawi.

Trade logistics and facilitation growth would also be enhanced via the uCustoms initiative, a single fully integrated Customs modernisation solution for cargo clearance, schedule for launching in early 2019.

This initiative would enhance the efficiency, productivity and competitiveness of Malaysia's logistics players.

"The steps to improve the digital infrastructure will continue to be implemented.

"Towards this direction, capacity and broadband coverage will continue to be stepped up through the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan to achieve the 95% target of broadband coverage and penetration in populated areas," he added.

​Source: The Sun