MDEC on Astro Awani: Youth and the Digital Economy
In another episode of Astro Awani’s special series exploring Malaysia’s digital economy, the panel discussed the potential role of youths in the national transformation drive.  

MDEC’s Vice President of the Creative Content & Technologies Division, Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, who was part of the panel, pointed to the pioneering behaviour of Malaysia’s young generation when it came to mobile connectivity.  

Even back in 2016, according to a study by Norwegian communications company Telenor Group, Malaysia was already leading Asia as the nation with most advanced smartphone users. Malaysia chalked up 79.2 percent of smartphone users and a mobile penetration rate of about 140 percent, according to Analysis Mason's Emerging Asia-Pacific telecoms marker: Trends and forecast 2015-2020.  

Most users - especially our young generation - were having their first experience of the internet through their mobile devices. Almost everything you want and need today is at your fingertips. Mobile internet has become an essential and a companion for everyone who has access to it. They've grown up with the internet, said Hasnul.  

The show’s discourse ranged from the social impact of youths proclivity to digital technologies - to the economic potential stemming from the interconnectedness between youths and the rest of the world.  

Many examples of how the younger generation - the digital natives - raised with technology at their fingertips, are leading to new ways of working and innovating. There is much more potential for the growth of new socio-economic practices such as the rise of digital nomads, people who do work remotely from their laptop, said the panel.  

Hasnul noted that online leisure activities are being capitalized by today’s youth to create profitable ventures and fuelling a growing local content and games industry. One such example of this is the rise of e-sports. What once was considered as a time-wasting leisure activity is now becoming one the fastest growing industries, he said. 

But perhaps the most significant way youths behave in the digital world is in how they connect with one another, allowing them to act almost like a hive-mind. The mobility afforded to them by digital technology will open up new possibilities as we continue with the transformation of our nation.. 

MDEC is working to ensure want every young person will take advantage of ' fast track' initiatives we are enabling at every key stage of their career. “From school up through higher institutions of learning and into industry schemes,” said Hasnul. 

“We are like the crew of the Starship Enterprise, boldly going where no one has really gone before, “ he added. “The only thing that is keeping us thriving and moving forward is the team effort that we as Malaysia is putting out there. Our youths are going to play a major part in our future - and our job in MDEC is to make sure the Warp Drive is fully operational!”