Digital economy attracts up to 70% of Malaysia's RM225bil approved investments: Tengku Zafrul

KUALA LUMPUR, 14 FEBRUARY 2024: Almost 70 per cent of Malaysia’s RM225 billion approved investments are in the digital economy, said Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

In a recent interview with United States-based news network, CNN, he explained that Malaysia has what it takes to power artificial intelligence (AI) and bring the whole ecosystem into the country.

"We have AI factories, that is what we call it now, instead of data centres, and we even had a visit from Nvidia Corporation, a US-based multinational technology company, which announced its keen interest to venture into Malaysia with other companies to support the advancement of AI.

"This is because AI will bring an increase in productivity,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul said there are concerns about AI in general on the impact on society, however, it cannot be denied that AI will bring a better quality of life by enabling all sorts of professions to do their work more efficiently.

"Jobs of the future may be very different given the advancement in technology, especially generative AI.

"With AI, there are many other job functions which will be involved. So, we need to ensure re-skilling and upskilling (of employees) to prepare for the new jobs of the future,” he said.

Last December, Nvidia expressed its willingness to support Malaysia’s aspiration of being among the top 20 countries in AI technology and has agreed to help develop the country’s AI ecosystem in terms of building a centre of excellence to facilitate AI learning and research, including creating Malaysia’s own AI cloud computing system.

On the proposal for some form of blanket minimum wage rise across ASEAN nations, Tengku Zafrul highlighted the importance of ensuring wages do go up.

"If you look at Malaysia’s economic fundamentals, our inflation is manageable. The inflation rate in 2023 recorded about 2.5 per cent and unemployment continues to be low at about 3.3 per cent.

"Based on these fundamentals, we must ensure that whatever increase in wages is linked to increasing productivity and that is why I am stressing investments in the green and digital economy because it increases the economic complexity of a country and its industries,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul noted that two years ago, Malaysia increased the minimum wage and is now discussing the concept of progressive wages.

"This can only be achieved if we increase productivity. So, wages need to be linked to productivity or else companies will find it difficult to implement an increase in compensation,” he said. - Bernama

Source: The Star

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