5,000+ digital jobs at the #MyDigitalWorkforce Week, up for grabs!

#MyDigitalWorkForce Week has been extended to 4th September 2020! So, go ahead – check out its Digital Jobs Expo!

Today marks the last day of webinars and satellite events under the #MyDigitalWorkForce Week, which aimed to address the uptick in demand for digital jobs and the requisite skill development.

The buzz however, isn’t quite over!

#MyDigitalWorkforce Week, which began as a five-day event that runs from August 24-28, 2020, is now to be extended until September 4, 2020, to ensure adequate support is provided to job-seekers. This is specifically for Malaysian youths and the unemployed.

The #MyDigitalWorkforce Week, which packed this entire week with a slew of exciting and impactfull activities, even included the very popular Digital Jobs Expo. This platform, already curating more than 5,000 digital jobs that are made available in more than 100 companies, is one of the main driving factors for this extension. Its list of prospective careers in the digital economy includes roles in related tech-based industries. Some of the organisations that took part are DHL, Motorola Solutions, AirAsia, Lenovo, TNG Digital and DIALOG.

Jobs available are tech and non-tech jobs – the latter are at tech businesses, of course!

“Closing off registrations at this stage may mean fewer Malaysians can benefit from the Digital Jobs Expo. The jobs that are being actively curated on this platform are digital- and tech-based roles along with non-digital positions within tech-related businesses. Additionally, RM1 million worth of free training has been availed for this content-packed #MyDigitalWorkforce Week and we are happy to see members of the workforce, even students, being able to benefit from this,” shared Dr. Sumitra Nair, Vice President, Digital Talent Development, MDEC.

5000+ jobs are curated from a pool of over 212,000 jobs!

While 5,000+ jobs are what MDEC has collated and is now sharing to a hungry workforce, there are other opportunities for the workforce to tap into. This includes career prospects that are shared on LinkedIn and MyFutureJobs.

This event is in line with MDEC’s strategic priority to increase the number of digitally-skilled Malaysians who are then able to contribute to Malaysia’s digital economy. Currently, Malaysia continues to accelerate towards being a digital society as it fast approaches the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

If you haven’t stopped by #MyDigitalWorkForce Week yet for the one of the 20 webinars, 60+ speakers, 5000+ jobs or 40+ satellite events, it is time you visit mydigitalworkforceweek.my/.

Do it now, and benefit from the extension of this mega event until 4th September 2020!

Restaurant owner saves family business by going digital during MCO

Courtesy: www.pexels.com

SENTUL: When the movement control order was announced in March, Kartik Ganason feared the worst, believing it could spell the end of his family’s 33-year-old restaurant.

Four of his family’s shops had closed down during previous economic downturns. He knew the last outlet would not be able to survive a hit such as the restrictions of the MCO.

“I was in a state of depression. I didn’t know what to do because we could not open for business,” said Kartik, whose Restoran Citra Maju was started by his father in 1987.

Kartik trained as an engineer but gave up his career to take over the family business when his father fell ill six years ago.

With his family’s livelihood under threat, he knew he would need to act quickly to keep his father’s legacy alive.

He decided to take Restoran Citra Maju online and signed up for Maybank’s Sama Sama Lokal after being approached by the service.The platform offered him a way to sell his food online and gave him the training and support he needed.

It only took Maybank a week to get the restaurant fully set up and online after receiving the company registration number, address and menu.

Everything from his profile and online menu to his payment gateway was handled by the Sama Sama Lokal team, who also walked him through how it would work and how to best communicate with customers and delivery drivers.

He said everything was transparent and easy to understand, keeping him from being overwhelmed by too many details.

The platform works like most food delivery services, but unlike other platforms which take cuts as high as 30%, vendors are not charged a commission. They are also paid within 24 hours.

Since going digital, Citra Maju’s business has improved by 50% and the shop serves nearly 150 more customers every week, as the system gives it an additional income stream and allows it to be seen by a wider group of new customers.

Even people from Puchong, some 30km away, have come to his shop since it reopened for dine-in customers.

Fans of Citra Maju who found the restaurant through Sama Sama Lokal have also asked it to cater for events, which Kartik sees as a big opportunity.

He believes digital platforms like these have the potential to help many other small businesses as it makes going digital accessible for everyone.

Now, he plans to attend training sessions organised by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) through its eUsahawan programme, which he hopes can give him the tools to further grow his online presence and reach even more customers.

Having seen the way the shop has grown in such a short period, Kartik says he has no plans to leave the business behind, and takes pride in managing the business and continuing the family legacy. In fact, he is already looking to expand the Citra Maju brand as his father once did, with two new outlets planned for 2021.

“Before I came back, the first 10 years of my career I was away from my family. I missed everything. I couldn’t be there for good or for bad. But now, I’m not leaving them. I need to be here for them.”

MDEC recently launched its #SayaDigital movement, and its CEO Surina Shukri said the core objective of the initiative is to provide Malaysians with digital skills and to empower businesses to go digital.

“We want to equip individuals and businesses with the tools needed for them to thrive in the new normal while making giant strides in the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

Various programmes such as PeDAS, eUsahawan, eRezeki, 100 Go Digital, Go-eCommerce and eBerkat are designed to help cultivate the digitalisation of local businesses.

During August, #SayaDigital will feature several MDEC-led programmes, providing businesses with various means to go digital and enabling Malaysians to be digitally skilled with speed and at scale.

The first two weeks of the movement focused on scaling digital adoption among businesses, while the subsequent two weeks provide opportunities for Malaysians to learn and enhance their digital skills.

The recent SME Digital Summit, the first of its kind in Malaysia, attracted over one million participants who learned about and implemented digital solutions to restart or expand their businesses.

For more on how #SayaDigital can guide your journey through digitalisation, go to www.mdec.my/sayadigital.

First published by Free Malaysia Today.

Are Technology and Innovation Changing Jobs, Skills and Our Perspective of Education? (Part 2 of 2)

Click here to read Part 1 of 2 !

Our Perspective of Education

In the first installment of this blogpost, I shared information about the skills being demanded by employers and the facts that support these assertions through the data we see on trends in jobs. In this second and final part, I summarise the role and attitude required of three parties that must come together to ensure that jobs and skills are matched.

Educational Institutions And Educators

While technology has shifted our paradigm, universities cannot forgo their focus on content development and learning analytics.

Online education platforms like Coursera, Microsoft and Udemy can play a useful role by tapping their expertise in online programme design, choice of tech platform, and digital marketing to develop the best content either with or for the traditional players.

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” is a quote from Albert Einstein.

Would you say this is the mantra that education institutions too, have got to start imbibing, so that they can continue to be a part of a student’s learning journey?

The Government And Its Agencies

In the case of the government and its agencies, I’ve shared what MDEC offers in facilitating employment and education. In fact, MDEC is well aware of the skill demands of the current economy and has been thus actively in conversation across ministries such as Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), MOE, MOSTI and MITI as well as government agencies such as HRDF and PERKESO – not forgetting the Economic Action Council too, to build a bridge that links jobs to skills demanded and vice versa.

Another MDEC avenue that will interest you is the #mydigitalworkforce week during the last week of August 2020. It aims to bring the talent supply and demand to focal point, to facilitate matching. Why we are organising this is because MDEC understands the need to explore ‘place and train’ as a new norm, so that people with baseline skills can be upskilled to requirements. Please go to mdec.my to know more about #mydigitalworkforce.


Perhaps first, let’s look at that worrying statement we often hear about – replacement of people by technology.

Khazanah Research Institute’s (KRI) opines that technology is a double-edged sword — it can replace workers, but it can also create new jobs. However, it is also true that for the vast majority of SMEs in Malaysia, which account for 40% of the total workforce and 98% of businesses, even automation is not yet an option.  

Nonetheless as competition stiffens, more businesses will take that Digital Leap to transform digitally ensuring they are relevant. And they will actively seek skilled talents! If the workforce does not keep up, many may fall behind in their output levels and affect business. Dealing with lacking skills in their existing talent pool or in newly sourced talent, will be an uphill task for employers!

Employers can counter these issues by increasing private sector cooperation in apprenticeship, training and internships; increasing collaborations with universities and career centres; increasing the level of on-the-job training for fresh graduates in the initial year of employment to overcome the issue of skills mismatch. The last-mentioned measure has worked well in Japan as workers in most of the sectors are reskilled in the first year of their employment to cater for the demands of the industry. Improving the quality of TVET for youths as quality and access to vocational training is another one, as it is linked to youth unemployment rates.

But the onus for change does not just rest on educators, governments and employers – students and the workforce must pitch in too!

To the workforce and student population, I say think about the fact that life skills are as crucial as digital skills or hard skills! Flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction can go a long way to help reduce the mismatch between skills employers demand, and what you graduates offer.

Survive Adversity Through Digital Avenues

You know, Malaysia’s strong history in the basis of education as well as its development through the times, brings it to a mid-point. A point that allows us to strategically chart paths ahead, and yet look back to learn from past successes and failures.

So, I have two messages I’d like to close with.

  • Digitalise, Cooperate! You can put employment and thus the economy back on course!

We need both education and labour market policies to synchronise; Education policies must be complemented by a matching job creation strategy that addresses the demand side of labour. Otherwise, our workers will be taking up jobs below their skill levels or moving to other countries, resulting in brain drain.

Speaking of the brain drain, some believe that there aren’t any jobs created at the level that skilled members of the workforce desire. Perhaps it is time we realise that digitalisation or technology may be the route to bridging this gap and bringing home talents;

For instance, more than 500,000 Malaysians work in the 3D (dirty, dangerous and difficult) sector in Singapore. If Malaysia were to reduce the number of unskilled foreign workers and automate some jobs, we can pay our citizens at a certain level for them to do jobs that were previously outsourced to foreign workers.

  • Innovate to push the education industry to a space that can withstand the impact of COVID-19.

Looking at education worldwide, 90% of primary, secondary and tertiary learners are no longer physically able to go to school. Educators struggle to introduce solutions for remote learning, especially in emerging markets, where major issues are financing and available infrastructure.

All levels of education are facing challenges but higher education is the level that can activate some sort of learning revolution.

“Universities are distinctive as their students are both old enough to handle the rigours of online work and technologically savvy enough to navigate new platforms”, according to the World Economic Forum. It may be that traditional, campus-based universities must adapt and choose the right technologies or approaches for educating and engaging their students. All this, while continually tracking changes in how skills needed are evolving to serve the changing economy.

The thought to leave with you is this; students may not be the only ones entrusted with the responsibility of learning. It may be that institutions of education may have to do the same.


From freelancing students to digital empire, the story of Softinn

Softinn team

PETALING JAYA: Jeeshen Lee and Caren Tee were still in university when they discovered that the Seri Malaysia and Tabung Haji hotel chains were among the largest in the country.

Ten years down the line, Seri Malaysia and Tabung Haji are among the 266 hotel brands the couple serve in Malaysia and Indonesia with their specialised software for hospitality properties.

“Back then, we were studying and taking up freelance jobs to pay for our tuition fees. So, when we heard there was a business competition with a RM10,000 cash prize, we knew we had to enter,” said Lee.

The competition, organised by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), required participants to submit a business plan. On top of the cash prize, there was also a follow-up grant to be won.

“Our idea was for a hotel software system,” Lee said. “We came up with it because a friend of ours spoke to us about the challenges he faced running his hotel.”

As part of their pitch for the MDEC competition, Lee said they had to come up with a list of possible clients. They included Seri Malaysia and Tabung Haji as they had among the largest inventory of rooms.

“We didn’t win, we got second place. But we didn’t give up, and what started as a means to win a cash prize evolved into a labour of love as MDEC sent us to conferences and pitching sessions.

“This helped us grow into entrepreneurs, and in 2012, we founded Softinn with a paid-up capital of RM5,000, mostly to rent servers.”

Softinn offers hotels software for check-in, reservations and front office operations, at prices affordable for small and boutique hotels.

“A five-star hotel will have the infrastructure, expensive IT systems, a digital marketing set-up and loyalty programmes.

“But for four-star hotels and anyone smaller, this would be too costly. That is where we can help.”

Essentially, Softinn provides their clients with the infrastructure and platform to improve productivity and operational efficiency while creating large savings.

What started off as a company comprising just Lee, Tee and two other employees to serve fewer than 30 customers has since grown into a team of 15 serving 1,267 customers.

“In the first two years, Tee and I did not draw a salary,” Lee said.

But in just eight years, Softinn expanded its empire from a single client, a three-storey shop lot hotel in Muar, Johor to over 1,000 properties including chains in Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We provide hotels with a website and a booking engine that allows travellers to book their stay directly with our clients. The travellers get a better deal and our client does not need to pay a commission to online travel agents.”

Lee said the system, which costs 80% less to run than international systems used by larger hotels, can help hotels save up to RM1,000 a month on commissions paid to agents.

The system also allows hotels to gain insight into customer behaviour, patterns and opportunities which can be used to refine their marketing strategies and optimise sales.

Lee said businesses have to embrace and unleash their digital potential.

“It’s not just about software, it is about what data can do for business. This is something which in the past may have been a luxury for smaller hotels, but not anymore.”

As for Softinn, Lee said they have not forgotten what MDEC did for him and his wife, adding that they were still working closely with them.

“We are collaborating with them on their SME Digitalisation grant to offer a 50% matching grant for boutique hotels to digitalise their businesses.”

Commenting on the success stories of local SMEs like Softinn, in conjunction with the launch of #SayaDigital Month, MDEC CEO Surina Shukri said: “The idea is for MDEC to empower businesses to take the digital leap to thrive in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and to achieve shared prosperity for all Malaysians.

“MDEC will continue to support businesses via digital empowerment platforms such as the highly successful SME Digital Summit, which has just concluded. This is our first in a series of events in conjunction with #SayaDigital Month, which aims to accelerate a digital society in Malaysia.”

The month-long campaign aims to expand digital skills and adoption among Malaysians and local businesses, empowering them to successfully navigate the new normal.

The first two weeks of the #SayaDigital movement will focus on empowering digital businesses, while the second half will provide opportunities for Malaysians to learn and enhance their digital skills.

Watch MDEC’s videos on digital businesses on www.mdec.my/sayadigital or at https://www.youtube.com/c/MYMDEC/ for inspiration.

First published on Free Malaysia Today

#SayaDigital #DigitalLeap #DigitalBusiness


Berbekalkan modal RM30, seorang wanita di Kampung Bukit Bunga, Jeli, Kelantan, di sini boleh tersenyum apabila perniagaan pizzanya kini mampu meraih jualan mencecah enam angka sebulan.

Berkongsi pengalaman, Noraini Ahmad, 34, yang juga alumni program eUsahawan anjuran Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) berkata, tembok kebal untuk meraih kejayaan dalam perniagaan yang diusahakan sejak enam tahun lalu berjaya dipecahkan dengan mendigitalkan perniagaan.

Noraini berkata, ketika awal perniagaan, dia tidak yakin untuk menggunakan platform media sosial malahan mengakui hanya membuat pemasaran digital secara ala kadar sahaja.

“ Bagaimanapun, saya sedar jika ingin melihat perniagaan ini berkembang, saya perlu melakukan perubahaan. Oleh itu, saya belajar menghasilkan pizza yang bersaiz lebih besar untuk menarik perhatian pelanggan.

“ Pada masa sama, saya mula menyertai beberapa kelas pemasaran digital termasuk yang dianjurkan oleh MDEC,” katanya.

Terdahulu, Noraini berkongsi perkembangan perniagaan Pizza Jangok Mek Ani dalam sesi forum yang dikendalikan aktor yang juga usahawan, Fizo Omar sempena Program Menjana Ekonomi Digital di sini baru-baru ini.

Program yang mendapat kerjasama MDEC itu dirasmikan oleh Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Ekonomi), Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Seramai 150 orang usahawan di Jeli menyertai program selama sehari itu yang mana antara pengisiannya termasuk untuk mendedahkan usahawan tentang manfaat program Perkhidmatan e-dagang Setempat (PeDAS) dan cara-cara untuk menjual produk di platform e-dagang seperti Shopee dan Lazada.

Bercerita lanjut, Noraini berkata, rekod jualan menghampiri RM100,000 yang dicatatkan itu dicapai selepas beberapa minggu perlaksanaan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) oleh kerajaan untuk membendung pandemik Covid-19.

Katanya, ketika itu dia mula melakukan pemasaran digital secara agresif, menyusun operasi perniagaan dan melantik runner di kawasan sekitar untuk membantu proses penghantaran pizza kepada pelanggan.

“ Berdasarkan maklum balas pelanggan, pizza keluaran syarikat saya istimewa kerana mempunyai tekstur roti yang lembut,” katanya.

Ketika ini, Noraini mempunyai 12 orang pekerja termasuk secara sambilan dan mampu mengeluarkan sekitar 450 kotak pizza setiap hari.

Menurutnya, ketika ini syarikatnya mengeluarkan tujuh jenis pizza iaitu ayam, makanan laut, tuna, daging, mix taste, ayam tom yam dan tuna with cheezy dengan harga bermula RM18 hingga RM28.

“ Bagi memberi lebih pilihan kepada pelanggan, saya turut menawarkan empat pilihan topping iaitu mushroom soup, funfries, lekor cheese dan cheezy wedges,” katanya.

Ketika ini, Noraini telah mempunyai 10 agen di sekitar Kelantan termasuk di Kota Bharu, Pasir Puteh, Pasir Mas, Tumpat dan Gua Musang.

Ditanya mengenai ilmu yang dipelajari sewaktu menyertai kursus eUsahawan MDEC, Noraini berkata, dia mendapat tips berguna membabitkan pemasaran digital.

“ Saya diajar bagaimana untuk menjawab pesanan pelanggan serta kaedah untuk membuat posting tentang pizza di media sosial . Saya berterima kasih kepada MDEC kerana inisiatif ini sangat membantu perniagaan untuk mendapat pelanggan di kawasan yang lebih luas,” katanya.

Oleh Mohd Firdaus Ismail

Are Technology and Innovation Changing Jobs, Skills and Our Perspective of Education? (Part 1 of 2)

MDEC Files


COVID-19 accelerated tech adoption and already, Malaysia’s unemployment rose from 5% to 5.3% in a month, from April to May this year.  The nature of employment has consequently shifted from full time to part time jobs or to gig-economy jobs. 

The shift has also brought to light that so-called ‘low-skilled’ workers are vital to keep our lives going; During the lockdowns around the world, these workers were our frontliners to maintain delivery and take care of our basic needs. There is an argument that eventually, automation will take over many of these jobs.  

While there will always be services provided by low-skilled workers, most newer jobs may call upon different or higher skill sets. Being able to reskill and upskill to keep up with the times is key to sustaining the economy of a country! 

I’ve said this before – Creating jobs alone is not enough. Just as crucial is ensuring that workers are equipped to handle the shift in skills demanded by employers and the overall job market. And any mismatch of jobs to skills, reflects a gap in Malaysia’s education and a rapidly changing economy. 

Digital All The Way

So, what exactly are the skills demanded looking like these days?  

MDEC’s recent analysis among various job search sites (LinkedIn, Jobstreet, Monster, Indeed and Jobstore) show an increasing demand for digital jobs. 

Industries Are Going Digital

The results were that across all portals, there is an average of 3,895 IT-related jobs. Also, as mentioned just now, the total number of IT-related jobs advertised in all 5 portals, minding the possibility of duplications of course, amount to 20,000! And finally, do note that about 77% of IT jobs advertised on these portals are for experienced positions.  

Hardly a surprise at this stage, the IT-skew tells you a lot about the general direction that industries are moving in – digitalisation. 

Emerging Jobs Are Digital

Echoing this is LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report Malaysia. The top 10 jobs all have a digital component; Data scientist, data engineer and data analyst emerge in the top 12 jobs, reflecting the government’s commitment to securing Malaysia as a leader in big data.

LinkedIn also reports that e-Commerce is fueling demand for hard and soft skilled talent in the internet economy! Online platforms need technical talent to build apps and online sales portals for instance. But also, they need those who can leverage such platforms and engage online customers – jobs like digital marketing specialists and community managers come to mind.


Non-negotiable Skills In This Digital World

Besides the skills demanded above, the structure of working has changed – from full time to employment contracts, gigs and flexible arrangements. So, graduates must get used to pitching for gigs and working for multiple clients at the same time. Soft skills like storytelling, writing skills and presentation skills are becoming essential skills to secure gigs.

Graduates must be agile and develop problem solving skills. Transferable skills will be key to landing and keeping a job.

MDEC’s Long Game

Well, in case you wondered how MDEC has been and will continue to support students and the workforce through the transitions demanded of them, let me quickly share three avenues you can immediately tap:

  1. MDEC’s Let’s Learn Digital is a partnership with Coursera that offers access to 3,800 courses, free until September 30th! That is a huge opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn specific skills in demand.
  2. GLOW or the Global Online Workforce, a national programme, is designed to enable Malaysians to be a part of the global online workforce and earn income. Go to glowmalaysia.com and mdec.my for more information.
  3. #mydigitalmaker is a movement to prepare Malaysian students as we head towards IR4.0, to future proof their education and careers.

Essentially, technology and innovation are changing jobs and skill-demands. Clearly, three parties have their respective roles to play in moving education forward – educators, employers and the government.  Their roles will be elaborated in the closing installment of this two-parter.

For now, I have one more avenue for you to tap if you were a student, fresh grad or member of the Malaysian workforce. It is #mydigitalworkforce week which is coming up in the second week of August. It aims to bring the talent supply and demand to focal point, to facilitate matching. Why we are organising this is because MDEC understands the need to explore ‘place and train’ as a new norm, so that people with baseline skills can be upskilled to requirements.

Please go to mdec.my to know more about #mydigitalworkforce.


Click here to read Part 2 of 2


Scroll down for Malay version/Skrol ke bawah untuk versi Bahasa Melayu

Malaysian innovation must rise to overcome the challenges of the post-Covid recovery. When we look back upon this critical time, we might even appreciate the unique opportunity it has given us to upgrade some of the legacy infrastructure and future proof it to facilitate new growth in the digital economy.

In the 4IR world, digital information and big data will serve as the fuel that powers the new economy. Societies will increasingly enjoy decentralised access to everything within it – a new reality of sorts that presents game-changing opportunities. However, this also raises serious concerns.

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), tasked with overseeing the digitalisation of the nation, must fulfil its responsibility to integrate digital society onto a unified platform that serves all its participants efficiently, ensuring that traffic moves smoothly on its networks and that all members of society are equitably served.

A key aspect of the Malaysia 5.0 vision is building this digital infrastructure with a unified alliance of stakeholders both within government and across private enterprise. This “Unity Alliance” is an economic coalition that will serve society in its migration into the digital age.

We see many great initiatives from different agencies, designed to stimulate the growth of fintech as a means of accelerating the adoption of a digital economy. MDEC will continuously support these initiatives by providing a unified framework that they can interoperate on – easily and cost-effectively – across the entire national digital ecosystem.

Malaysia 5.0, properly implemented, will function as the tracks that the digital economy will travel on. If this sounds impossibly ambitious for a country like Malaysia to achieve, then it only underlines the importance of designing a system that caters to our own particular competitive strengths, such as in Islamic Fintech, where Malaysia can bid to play a leadership role in an exciting sunrise industry.

Malaysia 5.0 is inspired by Japan’s Society 5.0 initiative – a concept that proposes to put society at the centre of technology so that technology serves society and not the other way around. It also allows for the management of disruptive new systems, such as fintech, to ensure that benefits accrue fairly across society without bias.

To achieve this, Malaysia 5.0 will need to intermediate digital marketplaces, banks and fintech companies and make them interoperable for public services and commercial counter-parties. This omni-channel access creates the connectivity, services and relationships needed to build the kind of digital economy which supports all members of society, especially with small- and medium-sized enterprises, a sector that is most vulnerable to the effects of digital transition.

Malaysia 5.0 not only helps in the creation of new spokes in the wheel of the digital economy, but – in so doing – also serves as a centralised hub for Government to provide its regulatory oversight and public services. The result is massive efficiency gains and comprehensive oversight built into one unified system.

In areas where we enjoy competitive strengths, such as Islamic Fintech, Malaysia 5.0 positions Malaysia in the global marketplace of banks, insurers, telcos and etc, to provide Islamic digital services. Certainly, I am the first to acknowledge that we are far away from leading the world as an innovation economy, but the first step towards progressing on this path is recognising the need for an initiative, such as Malaysia 5.0, to build a national framework that stimulates and supports our future digital economy.

There has never been a better time to think creatively and implement big change. If we unify around this objective, then we can hope to not only recover lost ground from the pandemic, but also leap-frog into innovation that will serve our future digital age generations. Unity Alliance truly can be an alliance that serves all Malaysians in our shared common goals for recovery, progress, and well-being.

Inovasi Malaysia mesti dipertingkatkan untuk mengatasi cabaran pemulihan pasca Covid-19. Apabila merenung kembali waktu yang mencabar ini, kita akan menghargai peluang unik yang diberikan untuk menambah baik beberapa infrastruktur sedia ada bagi memastikan pertumbuhan baharu dalam ekonomi digital di masa hadapan.

Dalam era Revolusi Industri 4.0 (IR 4.0), maklumat digital dan data raya (Big Data) akan berfungsi sebagai ‘bahan utama’ yang akan menggerakkan ekonomi baharu. Masyarakat pula lebih mudah untuk menikmati kemudahan dan akses  serta peluang baharu namun wujud juga beberapa kebimbangan.

MDEC sebagai agensi yang diberi mandat untuk ‘mendigitalkan negara’ harus melaksanakan tanggungjawabnya bagi mengintegrasikan masyarakat ke platform digital yang disatukan . Tanggungjawab ini termasuklah untuk memberi khidmat dengan cekap memastikan pergerakan trafik digital sentiasa lancar serta semua kelompok rakyat dilayan dengan adil.

Aspek utama visi Malaysia 5.0 adalah membangunkan  infrastruktur digital dengan kerjasama kerajaan dan swasta. “Unity Alliance” ini merupakan gabungan ekonomi yang akan memberi perkhidmatan kepada masyarakat yang beralih ke era digital.

MDEC melihat banyak inisiatif hebat yang melibatkan pelbagai agensi telah dirancang untuk merangsang pertumbuhan Teknologi Kewangan sebagai alat untuk mempercepat penerapan ekonomi digital. MDEC akan menyokong inisiatif ini dengan menyediakan kerangka kerja bagi membolehkan ia dapat beroperasi dengan mudah serta menjimatkan kos keseluruhan ekosistem digital kebangsaan.

Malaysia 5.0, sekiranya dilaksanakan dengan betul akan berfungsi sebagai landasan untuk ekonomi digital bergerak. Jika ada yang beranggapan bahawa impian ini terlalu tinggi untuk dicapai oleh Malaysia, ini memberi petanda bahawa pentingnya untuk kita merancang sistem yang menyokong persaingan sengit sesama sendiri. Teknologi Kewangan Islam sebagai contoh telah membuktikan Malaysia boleh berusaha untuk memainkan peranan sebagai pemimpin dalam industri yang sedang berkembang pesat.

Malaysia 5.0 diilhamkan berdasarkan inisiatif Japan 5.0 Society yang berhasrat untuk meletakkan rakyat negara itu di pusat teknologi sehingga membolehkan teknologi melayani masyarakat dan bukan sebaliknya. Hal ini juga memungkinkan pengelolaan sistem baharu seperti Fintech untuk memastikan bahawa keuntungan dapat dinikmati secara adil oleh rakyat.

Bagi mencapai hasrat ini, Malaysia 5.0 perlu mengintegrasikan Pasaran Digital, Bank dan Syarikat Teknologi Kewangan untuk perkhidmatan awam dan rakan niaga komersial. Akses ini mewujudkan hubungan dan perkhidmatan diperlukan untuk membina ekonomi digital yang menyokong semua anggota masyarakat, termasuklah Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) yang paling terkesan disebabkan peralihan digital.

Malaysia 5.0 tidak hanya membantu dalam penciptaan inti baharu dalam putaran ekonomi digital sebaliknya juga sebagai pusat bagi kerajaan untuk melaksanakan pengawasan, menyediakan peraturan dan perkhidmatan awamnya. Pada akhirnya, hasil yang dijangka ialah berlaku peningkatan kecekapan serta pengawasan menyeluruh yang terbentuk dalam satu sistem.

Di kawasan yang menyaksikan kita berdepan persaingan sengit seperti Teknologi Kewangan Islam, Malaysia 5.0 akan menempatkan negara kita di pasaran global bank, syarikat insurans, telekomunikasi , menyediakan perkhidmatan digital Islam dan sebagainya. Sudah tentu saya menerima kenyataan bahawa Malaysia masih jauh untuk memimpin dunia menerusi inovasi. Namun demikian, langkah pertama untuk mencapai hasrat berkenaan bermula dengan inisiatif seperti Malaysia 5.0 yang akan merangsang dan menyokong ekonomi digital masa depan kita.

Inilah waktunya untuk berfikir secara kreatif dan melaksanakan perubahan besar. Sekiranya kita bersatu untuk menjayakan objektif ini, negara bukan hanya akan pulih daripada pandemik ini sebaliknya melakukan lonjakan digital untuk generasi masa depan. Unity Alliance boleh menjadi satu jalinan kerjasama yang melayani semua rakyat bersama untuk pemulihan, kemajuan dan kesejahteraan.


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US-headquartered UST Global has recently been named to the list of the Everest Group’s PEAK Matrix® Top 20 IT Service Providers of the Year 2020. Having started UST Global’ s operations in Malaysia in 2006 and awarded MSC Malaysia status the same year, with its first centre in Penang in 2011, the UST Global Malaysia has grown to become one the group’s biggest delivery centre locations in the world. MDEC recently spoke with Amar Chhajer, Country Head of UST Global Malaysia, on the company’s journey in Malaysia.

Amar Chhajer, Country Head of UST Global Malaysia

MDEC: Congratulations for making it to the Everest Group’s Top 20 IT Service Providers of the year 2020. Tell us more about UST Global Malaysia.

Amar: UST became one of the biggest IT & engineering service company in Malaysia by 2017. Malaysia has been a strong, growing market for the company and we see massive potential in this market. Today some of the world’s largest corporations are UST Global’ s clients in Malaysia, and they consider UST Global as their strategic advisor and partner. Driven by UST Global’ s mission of Transforming Lives through Technology, UST Global Malaysia has been instrumental in building the local ecosystem and capability development in the niche and emerging areas like IT, IoT, Silicon Engineering, Automation, and Industry 4.0. For this, we work closely with many organizations, especially MDEC for the development of talent in the local ecosystem and creating awareness about Technology Opportunities and investments.

MDEC: How has UST Global been expanding your footprint in Malaysia?

Amar: UST Global Penang as one of the biggest delivery centres of UST Global, is attracting a lot of technology projects and jobs to the state. We have recently launched our first Infinity Labs in South East Asia and third Delivery Centre in Malaysia at Penang to provide an exciting springboard and a collaborative environment for the employees, customers, academia, and partner ecosystem. UST Global’ s expansion of Penang’s delivery centre is part of the company’s ongoing initiative to increase its presence and grow in Malaysia. It solidifies the company’s commitment to ‘Transforming Lives’ and plans explicitly to leverage local Malaysian talent in addition to providing opportunities for University graduates and IT experts keen on harnessing their technology skills.

MDEC: How do you create an exciting work-life for your talent?

Amar: We constantly encourage the active participation of our leaders and associates in our efforts to giving back to society. The various initiatives that I can think of are Beach Cleaning / Gotong Royong along with the City Council of Penang Island, celebrating the joy of giving week with St Nicholas’ Home, Silver Jubilee Home for the Aged, Adopt a School initiative etc.  We also joined hands with a non-profit organization, Befrienders and launched a digital intelligence platform to assist the Organisation to provide a more focused and strategic approach towards suicide prevention.

MDEC: Thank you for sharing with us the UST Global story in Malaysia. We wish you all the best and look forward to hearing more Malaysian success stories from UST Global.

UST Global yang beribu pejabat di Amerika Syarikat baru-baru ini telah disenaraikan dalam  PEAK Matrix® Top 20 IT Service Providers of the Year 2020 oleh Everest Group. Setelah memulakan operasi UST Global di Malaysia pada tahun 2006 dan diberi status MSC Malaysia pada tahun yang sama, UST Global Malaysia dengan pusat pertamanya di Pulau Pinang pada tahun 2011, telah berkembang menjadi salah satu lokasi pusat penghantaran terbesar di dunia. MDEC baru-baru ini berbicara dengan Amar Chhajer, Ketua Negara UST Global Malaysia, pada hari ke-3.

MDEC: Tahniah kerana berjaya tersenarai di dalam ke Top 20 IT Service Providers of the year 2020 oleh Kumpulan Everest 2020. Beritahu kami lebih lanjut mengenai UST Global Malaysia.

Amar: UST menjadi salah satu syarikat perkhidmatan IT & kejuruteraan terbesar di Malaysia menjelang tahun 2017. Malaysia telah menjadi pasaran yang kuat dan berkembang untuk syarikat tersebut dan kami melihat potensi besar di pasaran ini. Pada masa ini, beberapa syarikat terbesar di dunia adalah pelanggan UST Global di Malaysia, dan mereka menganggap UST Global sebagai penasihat dan rakan kongsi strategik mereka. Didorong oleh misi ‘Transformasi Kehidupan Melalui Teknologi’, UST Global Malaysia telah memainkan peranan dalam membangun ekosistem tempatan dan memperkembangkan kemampuan di kawasan-kawasan khusus seperti IT, IoT, Kejuruteraan Silikon, Automasi, dan Industri 4.0. Untuk ini, kami bekerjasama rapat dengan banyak organisasi, terutama MDEC untuk pengembangan bakat dalam ekosistem tempatan dan memberi kesedaran mengenai Peluang dan pelaburan Teknologi.

MDEC: Bagaimanakah pula tentang perkembangan UST Global di Malaysia?

Amar: UST Global di Pulau Pinang merupakan salah satu pusat penghantaran terbesar UST Global, telah menarik banyak projek berteraskan teknologi dan peluang pekerjaan ke negeri tersebut. Kami baru-baru ini melancarkan Makmal Infiniti pertama kami di Asia Tenggara dan Pusat Penghantaran ketiga di Malaysia di Pulau Pinang untuk menyediakan batu loncatan untuk mengadakan satu persekitaran kolaboratif untuk pekerja, pelanggan, ahli akademik, dan rakan kongsi ekosistem kami. Perluasan UST Global ke pusat penghantaran Pulau Pinang adalah sebahagian daripada inisiatif berterusan syarikat kami untuk berkembang di Malaysia. Ini mengukuhkan komitmen syarikat untuk ‘Mengubah Kehidupan’ dan merancang secara terperinci untuk memanfaatkan bakat tempatan Malaysia di samping memberi peluang kepada lulusan Universiti dan pakar IT yang berminat untuk memanfaatkan kemahiran teknologi mereka.

MDEC: Bagaimana anda mengadakan persekitaran kerja yang seronok untuk pekerja-pekerja anda?

Amar: Kami sentiasa mendorong penglibatan aktif para pemimpin dan rakan sekerja kami dalam usaha untuk memberi balik kepada masyarakat. Antara inisiatif yang dapat saya fikirkan adalah Pembersihan Pantai dan Gotong Royong bersama dengan Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang. Sewaktu itu, kami bersama dengan Rumah St Nicholas, Rumah Orang Tua Jubli Perak, inisiatif ‘Adopt A School’ dan lain-lain. Kami juga berganding bahu dengan organisasi kebajikan, ‘Befrienders’ dalam melancarkan platform digital pintar untuk membantu organisasi kami untuk memberikan pendekatan yang lebih fokus dan strategik untuk mencegah kemurungan terutamanya cubaan membunuh diri.

MDEC: Terima kasih kerana berkongsi dengan kami tentang UST Global di Malaysia. Semoga kami dapat mendengar lebih banyak lagi kisah kejayaan UST Global di Malaysia.


Article credit to Digital News Asia
Written by Dzof Azmi

Assoc. Prof TS Dr Wan Mohd Nasir Wan Kadir has nothing but plaudits for Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC): “They make industry work for us!”

The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Chair of School of Computing in the Faculty of Engineering is specifically referring to the productive relationship between academia and industry, courtesy of the Premier Digital Tech Institutions (PDTI) initiative.

It was only in June 2019 that it was announced that the PDTI pilot had proved successful enough to warrant a continued rollout. Its objective: To bridge the gap between universities and companies in order to produce a more employable graduate, specifically with an eye on the digital economy.

Eleven universities and five polytechnics are included in the initiative, based on criteria that they provide a conducive learning ecosystem that includes: Student employability; Industry experience of staff; Mentoring; Robustness of final year projects; Research linkages with industry and; Career placement services. 

Certainly, from a number’s perspective, the PDTI initiative has been impactful. More than 25,000 students have enrolled in digital tech courses in 2019, an increase of almost 40% compared to 2017. An even more important data point is the fact that the average graduate employment rate was 95%. It was 88% before the introduction of the PDTI.

“We started with Computer Science & IT faculties as those provide the foundational knowledge required for most digital tech companies” explains Dr Sumitra Nair, MDEC’s vice president for Digital Talent Development. “However, as Digital Tech became  increasingly embedded across more economic sectors, we realised the need to expand our focus horizontally to more faculties.”

Not only is digital tech now broadened into non-digital faculties like Engineering, Business, and Economics, but the level of applied knowledge called for has also increased. “Demand for skill-based graduates with Digital Tech expertise has also prompted us to commence efforts to work with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions,” adds Sumitra. The best proof of this is in LinkedIN’s Emerging Jobs Report Malaysia 2020 where all of the most promising jobs of today and the future have a strong tech element to them. Even in construction, one of the key job openings are for BIM (Building Information Modelling) Specialists.

Work-based learning and real-life content

Meanwhile, Wan Mohd Nasir shares that each year, UTM organises an Industry Advisory Panel (IAP). “We get feedback from them to improve our curriculum and make students more relevant to industry,” he explains.

One major outcome is the introduction of work-based learning (WBL) “We make sure that the students work closely with the real problems from industry,” he adds, with projects supplied by the companies they collaborate with.

The other is industry-based training with industry giving talks, three times a year with some courses having a module where students will make a presentation to a panel of industry partners.                      

Ng Sang Beng, the CEO of Aemulus, a Penang-based listed semiconductor components company, who has been actively involved in the PDTI initiative, is a big advocate of giving students exposure to real-world situations, to the point that he wants greater, not less, involvement. “Universities should consider a longer period of internship,” he said, “Students can receive training on the latest technologies, (and ) with that, they can bring these skills to their first employment.”

Ng even suggests that academics play a more engaged role. “It would be best to have lecturers visit during the internship as this will allow the academics to understand further on industry’s requirements,” he says.

Keeping faculty on the cutting edge

Ng makes an important about academic involvement – the ones who mould, guide and sharpen students. And, MDEC is all in. In fact, this year MDEC is working with eight industry partners to upskill another 200 PDTI lecturers, on top of the 240 who have benefited since 2017. The focus areas represent the most relevant topics today, including Data Science, AI, Cybersecurity, Networking, Cloud Management, Databases, and Java.

“It is very important for the teaching staff to keep themselves abreast with the latest technologies and trends in the industry,” agrees Dr Goh Hui Ngo, Multimedia University (MMU) Dean for the Faculty of Computing and Informatics. “We would like to minimise the gap and set industry expectations with the students. (For example), in 2018 and 2019 we sent staff to IBM and MDEC,” she said. “This is an important activity to enable us in developing future-proof academic programmes that meet the market needs.”

Covering the fundamentals

“It is very important to us that we don’t just cover the skills but make sure the students understand why and how they are important,” concurs Ng Shu Min, HELP University, Head of School of ICT. “We are constantly asking students to attend extra workshops and training and guest lectures too, but I think they will only appreciate it later!”

“I would say a graduate is “industry-ready” if he or she has been able to see a technical project through from start to finish, can communicate ideas well in reports and presentations, is keen to learn and not afraid to ask questions.”

This sort of collaboration requires dedication and tight cooperation from all those involved, with Shu Min acknowledging that, “MDEC is very good at creating opportunities for us to collaborate with industry.”

As a result, HELP often receives requests from industry partners for interns. “We have had very good feedback from internship supervisors with ‘repeat’ requests from companies for our graduates,” she says with communications skills, adaptability and work ethic being singled out by employers.

A balance between academia and industry

As much as academia wants to see students come out job-ready, a balance needs to be struck. “Sometimes industry expects our students to be fully equipped with the required specific knowledge and skills, although the students are only in year 2 or 3 of their study,” says Wan Mohd Nasir.

Better expectation management between parties is needed. “We overcame this by engaging industry through a series of workshops and discussions. This approach has helped. For example, we’ve simplified our student assessment tools, which were too academic and lengthy for the industry,” he admits.

Nevertheless, while academia has the final say on what goes on in the classroom, the PDTI are always open to new ideas, especially if it improves graduate employability by bridging theory to the practical.

Getting jobs, great salaries

The single most important metric of the PDTI, graduate employability and relevance in the digital economy has certainly improved. Wan Mohd Nasir confirms that job placement has risen from 88% to 95% at UTM, with many instances of students securing jobs even before graduating. Other PDTIs even report of 100% graduate employability.

UTM graduates have found jobs quite easily, mostly as application consultants and developers with the most popular post being software engineers. Employers including high-profile ones such as Intel, Top Glove, DHL, Maybank, Maxis, Schlumberger, Dyson, Forest Interactive, Heitech Padu, and Aemulus.

Wan Mohd Nasir notes that average starting salaries range from RM3,500 to RM10,000 (S$3,250) for those who got jobs in Singapore. “Demand, for now, is too high,” he quips.

[RM1 = US$0.23]

Further strengthening career prospects for students, the Career Development Centre Club (CDCC) was launched in 2017, initially with 13 PDTIs. The objective is to share best practices in strengthening the career readiness and employability among students and graduates. Most CDCC members of staff are certified by the National Career Development Association (NCDA). It has now expanded to include non-PDTIs as well with 29 members (including 5 polytechnics).

Keeping an eye on the curve and offering microcredits

Apart from satisfying the volume of demand, the challenge upon PDTIs is to also deliver depth. This is where the Industry Competency Centres (ICCs) and Centres of Excellence (CoE) come into play with their focus on key industry 4.0 areas such as Big Data Analytics, Blockchain, AI, Autonomous Robotic, IoT, Cybersecurity, AR and Simulation.

Funding for some of these centres are via the MOE-MITI Industry4WRD initiative, while two others are being funded by MDEC.

“The objective is for talent development and technology propagation. In terms of exposure, the centre team members have been engaged as industrial consultants in various capacities,” MMU’s Goh explains.

Examples of collaboration include one with the Ministry of Health where data analytics is being used to track Covid-19 cases in Selangor. Other companies involved in other partnerships include AirAsia, Australian-based property leader, REA Group and Hitachi EBWorx.

Improving relations and recruitment

Now that the link between academia and industry is beginning to show dividends, some believe that more should be done to encourage students to foster similar closer relationships.

“IT students need to be more outgoing and build friendships and networks,” observes Shu Min. “We plan to provide our students more opportunities for work-based learning, and plan to start involving them in industry projects during their first year at university.”

“We also have a work-based learning option where students can spend their entire third and final year placed in industry.”

And as success begets success, there is a growing realisation that getting digital skills adds a shine to whatever foundation you may already have. “Students and parents nowadays are looking for more flexibility in education, so as to be relevant to industry,” says MMU’s Goh.

Recognising this, together with a softening job market, Sumitra points to a scheme from MDEC to help “top-up” skills. “We are working closely with PDTIs on various industry collaborations including the introduction of micro credentials to ensure students have industry certifications before they graduate.”

As to what’s next for the PDTIs, according to MDEC, since the model has proven to be successful, they are exploring possibilities to expand it to more universities and TVET institutions across the country.


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The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unexpected catalyst, similar to the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-2009 which back then, provided the impetus to growth of fintech.  In this context of the COVID-19 impacted economy, in order to emerge victorious in the long term, our local fintech and Islamic fintech companies will have to seize the moment and future-proof their business during this period.

Islamic Fintech: Serving the Underserved Market

In spite of our high banked-population 17% of Malaysians have a life insurance policy, possibly pointing to the fact that budgeting and financial planning are still low on the take up. Six out of 10 Malaysians work in the gig economy or are self-employed, and thus, have to opt for a scheme that supports their pension or retirement needs either with the EPF, or privately.

Underserved markets in Malaysia offer opportunities for Islamic Fintech players as Malaysia strives towards ‘financial Inclusion’ as a goal within sustainable growth with fair and equitable distribution, in line with Shared Prosperity Vision 2030. Add to that the recent COVID-19 crisis and its anticipated impact on the overall Malaysian economy, and you get an underserved that is readier than ever for digitally abled and enabled enterprises. The underserved will now grow to include those dependent on the digital economy for a boost in their livelihoods – alongside a severe need to educate and connect communities as part of financial inclusion.  

Players successful in Malaysia such as Wahed Invest, Finterra and Ethis are key Islamic Fintech companies which are making a splash, but every activity in the fintech space is of value to the underserved – MSME and B40 population. Take the instance of an initiative by MDEC collaborating with Koperasi Warga Hijrah Selangor (KoHijrah) and Aspirasi (a subsidiary of Axiata Digital), to offer working capital financing up to RM3000 to eligible members of KoHijrah. Successful applicants are then given exposure to digital marketing techniques and instruction on how to activate the customer’s service for food delivery through digital platforms.

Alluding to the fact that Islamic Fintech is all about financial inclusion, Umar Munshi of Ethis Ventures Malaysia said, “The world is rapidly reinventing itself with technology, bringing huge gains to society. Muslims especially, have the opportunity to create new solutions and ecosystems in the Islamic Digital Economy, to match and serve unique needs, based on the universal ethical principles of Islam.”

Onward, Islamic Fintech

Islamic Fintech and Islamic Digital Economy encourage financial inclusivity by increasing awareness and providing access to MSMEs, B40 and the gig economy through digital financial instruments which address various aspects of SLIP or Savings, Lending, Investment and Payments.

It is the financial inclusiveness of Islamic Fintech that Norhizam feels is the Islamic Digital Economy’s biggest asset. “Malaysia’s Islamic fintech players will continue to serve underserved markets both locally and globally – as Malaysia builds on the strength of Islamic products and services, to be the #1 Islamic Fintech nation in the world,” concludes Norhizam.

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