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.

Employers

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.

END OF PART 2 OF 2

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

MDEC Files

JOBS

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.

SKILLS

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.

END OF PART 1 OF 2

Click here to read Part 2 of 2

PENJANA: A BOOST FOR MDEC’S WORKFORCE UPSKILLING AND RESKILLING EFFORTS

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

My fellow Malaysians,

2020 had started with the bumpiest ride seen in decades – some say in a century; Clearly, COVID-19 has triggered socio-economic vulnerabilities. One apparent gauge of that vulnerability is that job losses in Malaysia have increased by 42 per cent for this first quarter.

It is therefore, only natural, that issues of employment are under the spotlight.

Creating jobs is only the first step, not the last.
The digital economy has been accelerated and it is manifesting a shift in job skills demanded.

Timely spurts of relief had emerged and aided Malaysia, job-creation wise within the digital economy. This was so even as the norms of physical distancing seem to continue to play out amid worries of asymptomatic Covid-19 positive patients and new clusters.

The CMCO was perhaps the first joint step between both government and private sectors, to restart the economy and preserve jobs. The second is the currently running RMCO.

However, as we brace for full-fledged recovery, creating jobs alone, is not enough. Just as crucial is ensuring that workers are equipped to handle the shift in skill demand by employers and the overall job market.

Opportunities to digitally reskill or upskill are here.
A news report in Free Malaysia Today stated that among emerging jobs, 9 out 10 jobs are related to STEM learning, creating an evident shift in the skills demanded.

MDEC’s CMO Raymond Siva in a webinar by Marketing Magazine titled The Survival Guide for SMEs Post MCO-Lockdown (Focus: Agencies) recently shared a quick survey conducted by MDEC on 5 job portals which included LinkedIn, SeekAsia and Jobstreet. It showed that there were close to 5000 digital jobs vacant, pre COVID-19. With digitalisation and innovation in the new normal, these numbers could be far higher. So, what efforts are being taken to skill workers aptly?

With the need for greater digital adoption among businesses, governments and communities, major players in the digital ecosystem who are leading this change, have been the first to present opportunities to upskill and reskill, to ready talents for future jobs; Huawei Malaysia for instance, just launched the Huawei ASEAN Academy, to empower digital talent in Malaysia. It is expected to provide more than 3,000 information and communications (ICT) courses, and groom 50,000 Malaysian talents over the next five years.

To address the issue of unemployed workers and presenting them with opportunities to digitally upskill or reskill, a partnership between MDEC and Coursera called ‘Let’s Learn Digital’ was launched recently. SAP Malaysia earlier also collaborated with MDEC as part of the latter’s #DigitalVsCovid movement, for SAP to nurture talent, build a future workforce and grow the digital ecosystem.

MDEC continues to create pathways for digital upskilling, making Penjana’s allocations timely.
As unemployment numbers in March rose to 610,000, the need to resolve the glaring gap between talents graduating and the digital skills sought, take centre stage.

MDEC, responsive to the gap, is currently assessing the demand and supply in the digital job market, specifically to identify the roles and skills requiring attention. Immediately evident are the businesses looking for coders, programmers, developers, designers and data scientists, to serve game industry, global supply chains, e-Commerce and cross-border trading. Job matching is top-of-mind for both the government as well as the private sector.

MDEC will be organising a campaign next month to bring the talent supply and demand to a focal point and drive activities that will facilitate matching. The aim is to also explore ‘place and train’ as a new norm as it will better match the skills needed to the people already available or with a baseline skills that can be upskilled to requirements.

Meanwhile, as of 5th June, Penjana (Short Term Economic Recovery Plan) also offers hope through its announcement of various allocations. MDEC will continue to support government agencies following an allocation of RM2 billion for reskilling and upskilling programmes for the youth and unemployed workers, possibly benefitting over 200,000 Malaysians.

Through Penjana allocations, RM 25 million will be granted to MDEC’s GLOW (Global Online Workforce) programme, to empower Malaysians in the gig economy; MDEC trains, mentors and engages trainees to train the participants to become full-time digital employees which enables them to generate a steady monthly income of at least RM2,000. MDEC’s crowdsourcing efforts through eRezeki and GLOW programmes had achieved successful results by raising the standard of income of the B40 and M40 groups.

It’s time to get down to details.
On the one hand, MDEC has long been leading the digital economy and creating a space to enable digital transitions and transformations. On the other, the nuts and bolts of the Penjana allocations are being meticulously worked out; The wheels have begun turning this week starting 22nd June.

MDEC’s meetings across government ministries and agencies are I full swing, with conversations surrounding skills and employability. We are deliberating solutions in tandem with the Economic Action Council (EAC), the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and the Social Security Organisation (PERKESO). At the EAC meeting, the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) discussed graduate employability and drew solutions around skills. HRDF’s 5 new programmes around Penjana initiatives related to training and skilling. The Meeting with EAC and multiple ministries as well as agencies at EPU, was about how technology can help coalesce all efforts.

In essence, job skills required may be evolving, but skilling, reskilling or upskilling an individual for new roles in employment are here to stay; and for those who are agile and adaptable, opportunities abound. And Penjana is that much needed leg-up to restore incomes, businesses, education, recreation and investment – everything that vicariously retains or enhances the demand for jobs. MDEC, I assure you, remains poised and present, to take that digital leap within upskilling and reskilling, into the era of the 4th IR, to achieve our Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.

Let’s Build Together,

Surina Shukri,
Chief Executive Officer,
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation

#LetsBuildTogether #DigitalVsCovid #KomunikasiKita #DigitalEconomy #KitaTeguhKitaMenang


Rakyat Malaysia sekalian,

Perjalanan kita pada 2020 terjejas akibat  wabak COVID-19 yang telah melemahkan kedudukan sosio ekonomi negara. Satu ukuran yang jelas mengenai kesan buruk ialah kehilangan pekerjaan di Malaysia telah meningkat sebanyak 42 peratus untuk suku pertama ini.

Oleh itu, wajar untuk isu-isu mengenai peluang pekerjaan menjadi perhatian.

Mencipta peluang pekerjaan merupakan langkah pertama, bukan terakhir.

Ekonomi digital telah mempercepatkan dan ini menunjukkan perubahan dalam kemahiran pekerjaan yang diminta.

Namun, ketika kita berusaha untuk pemulihan sepenuhnya, mewujudkan pekerjaan sahaja tidak mencukupi. Apa yang turut perlu diberi perhatian adalah memastikan pekerja dilengkapi untuk berdepan perubahan permintaan kemahiran oleh majikan dan keseluruhan pasaran pekerjaan.

Peluang untuk menggunakan digital atau menambah kemahiran baharu ada di sini.

Ketua Pegawai Pemasaran MDEC, Raymond Siva dalam webinar oleh Marketing Magazine bertajuk The Survival Guide for SMEs Post MCO-Lockdown (Fokus: Agensi) baru-baru ini berkongsi tinjauan ringkas yang dilakukan pihaknya di lima portal pencarian kerja antaranya  LinkedIn, SeekAsia dan Jobstreet. Dapatan menunjukkan bahawa terdapat hampir 5000 kekosongan pekerjaan terkait digital ditawarkan sebelum COVID-19. Dengan digitalisasi dan inovasi dalam keadaan baharu,jumlah ini akan jauh lebih tinggi. Sehubungan itu, apa usaha tepat yang dilakukan untuk pekerja mahir ?

Dengan keperluan penerapan digital yang lebih menyeluruh di kalangan perniagaan, kerajaan dan komuniti, pemain utama dalam ekosistem digital yang memimpin perubahan ini telah menjadi yang pertama untuk memberikan peluang bagi meningkatkan dan menyesuaikan diri dengan bakat yang bersedia untuk pekerjaan pada masa masa depan. Huawei Malaysia sebagai contoh baru -baru ini telah melancarkan Huawei ASEAN Academy untuk memperkasakan bakat digital di Malaysia. Ia diharapkan dapat menyediakan lebih dari 3,000 kursus maklumat dan komunikasi (ICT) dan menyediakan 50,000 bakat Malaysia dalam tempoh lima tahun akan datang.

Untuk mengatasi masalah pekerja yang menganggur dan memberi mereka peluang untuk meningkatkan kemampuan  digital, satu kerjasama antara MDEC dan Coursera yang dipanggil  ‘Let’s Learn Digital’ telah dilancarkan baru-baru ini. SAP Malaysia sebelumnya juga bekerjasama dengan MDEC sebagai sebahagian dari gerakan #DigitalVsCovid untuk SAP memupuk bakat, membina tenaga kerja masa depan dan mengembangkan ekosistem digital.

MDEC terus berusaha untuk peningkatan digital serta menjadikan peruntukan Penjana tepat pada masanya.

Oleh kerana jumlah pengangguran pada bulan Mac meningkat menjadi 610 000, wujud keperluan untuk mengatasi jurang perbezaan antara bakat baharu dan kemahiran digital yang dicari.

MDEC sentiasa responsif terhadap jurang yang wujud dan ketika ini sedang menilai permintaan dan penawaran di pasaran pekerjaan digital, khususnya mengenal pasti peranan dan kemahiran yang memerlukan perhatian. Apa yang mustahak adalah perniagaan yang berkait pengkod, pengaturcara, pemaju, pereka dan data sains untuk melayani industri permainan, rantaian bekalan global, e-dagang dan perdagangan rentas sempadan. Kesesuaian pekerjaan adalah perhatian utama bagi kerajaan dan juga sektor swasta.

Perkembangan pesat ekonomi digital telah mengubah permintaan peluang pekerjaan.

Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Malaysia (PKP) merupakan langkah pertama dijalankan oleh kerajaan untuk menjana semula ekonomi dan mengekalkan pekerjaan. Langkah kedua ialah pelaksanaan perintah kawalan pergerakan pemulihan (PKPP) yang sedang berjalan.

Namun ketika kita berusaha untuk pemulihan sepenuhnya, kewujudan  pekerjaan sahaja tidak mencukupi. Adalah penting adalah memastikan pekerja dilengkapi dengan ilmu dan kemahiran sebagai persediaan untuk permintaan kemahiran oleh majikan dan keseluruhan pasaran pekerjaan.

Dengan perlunya penerapan digital yang lebih besar di kalangan perniagaan, kerajaan dan komuniti, pemain utama dalam ekosistem digital yang memimpin perubahan ini telah diberi peluang untuk meningkatkan kemahiran dan ‘reskill’ kemahiran baharu  dengan bakat-bakat masa depan; Huawei Malaysia misalnya, baru melancarkan Huawei ASEAN Academy, untuk memperkasakan bakat digital di Malaysia. Ia diharapkan dapat menyediakan lebih dari 3,000 kursus maklumat dan komunikasi (ICT), dan mendidik 50,000 bakat Malaysia dalam tempoh lima tahun akan datang.

Untuk mengatasi masalah pekerja yang menganggur dan memberi mereka peluang untuk meningkatkan atau meningkatkan kemampuan digital, kerjasama antara MDEC dan Coursera, ‘Let’s Learn Digital’ dilancarkan baru-baru ini. SAP Malaysia sebelumnya juga bekerjasama dengan MDEC sebagai sebahagian dari gerakan #DigitalVsCovid yang terakhir, untuk SAP memupuk bakat, membina tenaga kerja masa depan dan mengembangkan ekosistem digital.

MDEC terus membuka jalan untuk peningkatan digital, menjadikan peruntukan Penjana tepat pada masanya.

Oleh kerana jumlah pengangguran pada bulan Mac meningkat kepada 610000, keperluan untuk menyelesaikan jurang perbezaan antara graduan-graduan dan kemahiran digital yang dicari.

MDEC responsif terhadap kekurangan pada masa ini sedang menilai permintaan dan tawaran di pasaran pekerjaan digital, khusus untuk mengenal pasti peranan dan kemahiran yang diperlukan.  Terbukti adalah perniagaan yang mencari pengekod, pengaturcara, pemaju, pereka dan saintis data, untuk melayani industri permainan, rantaian bekalan global, e-Dagang dan perdagangan rentas sempadan. Padanan pekerjaan adalah perhatian utama bagi kerajaan dan juga sektor swasta.

MDEC akan mengadakan kempen untuk membawa penawaran dan permintaan bakat dan mendorong aktiviti yang akan memudahkan padanan kerja. Tujuannya ialah untuk meneroka ‘place and train’ sebagai norma baru kerana ia akan lebih sesuai dengan kemahiran yang diperlukan untuk orang yang sudah ada atau dengan keterampilan dasar yang dapat ditingkatkan.

Sementara itu, mulai 5 Jun, Penjana (Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara) juga telah mengumumkan beberapa peruntukan yang memberi harapan untuk pemulihan ekonomi. MDEC akan terus menyokong agensi kerajaan berikutan peruntukan RM2 bilion untuk program peningkatan kemahiran dan ‘reskill’ kemahiran baharu untuk lebih 200,000 rakyat Malaysia yang terdiri daripada golongan muda dan pekerja yang menganggur.

Melalui peruntukan Penjana, RM25 juta akan diberikan kepada program GLOW (Global Online Workforce),  MDEC untuk memperkasakan rakyat Malaysia yang mana MDEC melatih, membimbing dan melibatkan pelatih untuk melatih para peserta untuk menjadi pekerja digital sepenuh masa yang membolehkan mereka menjana pendapatan bulanan tetap sekurang-kurangnya RM2,000. Usaha crowdsourcing MDEC melalui program eRezeki dan GLOW telah mencapai hasil yang berjaya dengan meningkatkan taraf pendapatan kumpulan B40 dan M40.

Mesyuarat MDEC di beberapa kementerian dan agensi kerajaan mengenai kemahiran dan kebolehkerjaan. Kami sedang mempertimbangkan penyelesaian bersama dengan Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi (EAC), Tabung Pembangunan Sumber Manusia (HRDF), Unit Perancang Ekonomi (EPU) dan Pertubuhan Keselamatan Sosial (PERKESO). Pada mesyuarat EAC, Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi (MoHE) membincangkan kebolehkerjaan siswazah dan membuat  beberapa penyelesaian tentang kemahiran. Lima program baharu HRDF di bawah inisiatif Penjana berkaitan dengan latihan dan kemahiran. Mesyuarat dengan EAC dan beberapa kementerian serta agensi di EPU adalah bagaimana teknologi dapat membantu menggabungkan semua usaha.

Pada hakikatnya, bidang yang diperlukan mungkin berkembang namun peningkatan kemahiran atau ‘reskilling’ kemahiran baharu untuk peranan baru tetap kekal dan peluang yang banyak.

Penjana sangat diperlukan untuk mengembalikan pendapatan, perniagaan, pendidikan, rekreasi dan pelaburan demi mengekalkan atau meningkatkan permintaan pekerjaan. MDEC, saya jamin, tetap bersedia dan untuk melakukan lonjakan digital dalam peningkatan dan penyesuaian semula, ke era IR ke-4, untuk mencapai Wawasan Kemakmuran Bersama 2030.

#MariBinaBersama #DigitalVsCovid #KomunikasiKita #DigitalEconomy #KitaTeguhKitaMenang

RESILIENCE IN THE TIME OF CRISIS

“Kalau tidak dipecahkan ruyung, manakan dapat sagunya.” – Malay Proverb

The last 9 weeks at home have been a challenge for my team and me.

Shifting our work base from the office to the home, as well as adjusting ways to work around supporting the COVID-19-catalyzed digital economy was challenging. So, shaping the agenda to move digital industries forward which has always been a priority, has now become an urgency.

At a staff level, steering the team through the early transitions at work, even just before the worldwide movement restrictions began, it was evident that all the theory of Business Continuity Plans is on paper and is not always practical.

Perhaps that was the first point in time, my team and I were all shocked into understanding the cards we were dealt, and that the solution needed was a mindset of adaptability and agility. So we had to shift our thinking swiftly, from planning to actually acting.

It was a mini introduction to a topic that is now top-of mind – resilience.

FRAMING THE PROBLEM

When the pandemic broke out, instantly the demand for digital soared among communities, individuals and businesses. This meant that all stakeholders of the digital ecosystem were propelled into a significantly new landscape and the urgency for us as a developmental agency to respond, surged exponentially.  

As we continue to reach out to various stakeholders and the country at large to fulfill the huge goal we have before us, we are noticing important shifts; For the workforce, students, educators, communities and for the rakyat, the knack, the desire and the urgency for digital has over the last few months, just skyrocketed. So all the efforts that would have taken 5 years to get people on board, needs to happen right now.

The need to keep our ear to the ground and observe the nature and extent of that change in the digital ecosystem in real time, has been of utmost importance to our stakeholders. The challenges faced by stakeholders keep us on our toes as we lead the digital economy forward.

Economists deliberate the shape of recovery with various projections of the pattern that may take. At the ground level, the MDEC team and I continue framing the problem and we do see that business dynamics are being severely affected. Industry wise, aviation, manufacturing and real estate, just to name a few, continue to suffer. As is well discussed by now, for today’s entrepreneur, outcomes are sub-optimal if digital elements are not a part of their equation.

Meanwhile, SMEs employ 70% of the Malaysian workforce. A total of 1.46 million employees are expected to lose jobs under the worst-case scenario. Workers affected are experiencing a sudden need to make unprecedented changes and adjustments in roles, if not having to experience pay cuts or layoffs.

RESOLVING TO FORGE AHEAD

“Comfort kills ambition. Get uncomfortable and get used to it in pursuit of your goals and dreams.” – Robert Kiyosaki

From an MDEC perspective, Covid-19 has propelled us to solve problems at scale. So, what is top of mind now for me is ‘how do I translate what we used to do for thousands of people, for hundreds of thousands of people instead?’  

One of the positive observations made is that very quickly, certain people and businesses are starting to move from ‘why must I’ to seeing an opportunity by digitally enabling their business. Across various levels of digitalisation, we see businesses, communities or investors, starting to recognize that collaboration is increasingly important as we need to see efforts at scale!  

However, on the flip side, the human element poses a glaring need for attention; Creating jobs and income for people is urgent and the solutions lie in reskilling and upskilling those who have lost jobs. Some may perceive this as an uncomfortable adjustment, though the discomfort of change seen through a different lens, is likely to spur career development, growth and other positive outcomes.

Therefore, the leadership of MDEC has been working together, resolving to achieve this through various means including engaging the government, bridging funding gaps, as well as supporting entrepreneurs and workers to pivot in their approach to opportunities via training and education.

RESILIENCE TO RESTART

“Man has never made anything as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bernard Williams

There is opportunity if you think there is.

Whatever we go through as an individual, as a business or a country, one can always choose to look through either lens – one of challenge or opportunity.

There are two steps to future proofing one’s career the way I see it. Both, in tandem, set the tone for resilience. One is the adjusting one’s mindset and the other is being adaptable. With that spirit in mind, as the workforce finds its footing in the new normal, workers will have to adjust to exploring new horizons job-wise and sometimes, preceding that they will need to survey the right upskilling or reskilling choices.

The advantage of the times is that, the digital economy continues to spur jobs and opportunities, as shared above. I feel this is the time to be resilient, step up and take them!  

The impact of this extraordinary upheaval will only be seen after the crisis. As the government convenes at the highest levels of leadership, MDEC works closely with KKMM and MOSTI on digital, as a national agenda. Meanwhile, we at MDEC continue to keep our eye on our mission.  We hope every individual, community and business does the same, leveraging digital opportunities that MDEC, the Malaysian government and digital ecosystem continue to provide.

A Ramadan of Resolve

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

Firstly, to all Muslims, Salam Ramadan.

This year’s spirit is about braving adversity and showing resolve.

Ramadan is a time for reflection and good intentions. Never has there been a time more uncertain than what the world is going through today, and it has made us question our collective priorities and empathy for our fellow human beings. But, it has also been a time to strengthen our resilience.

The whole world has been operating on survival mode, and when the dust of COVID-19 settles, we can be quite sure the world we live in will never be same. MDEC, in carrying out our mandate to lead Malaysia’s digital economy forward, has activated all its platforms and programmes with more gumption than ever before! As the nation deals with the serious challenges of lost jobs, declining revenues, separated families and disrupted education system – MDEC has been doing our best to provide a ‘soft-landing’ to mitigate against some of the negative impact of COVID-19 on the various communities via innovative digital and tech solutions.

With the support of KKMM, we are working diligently to prepare the nation as it rebounds from the COVID-19 imposed slowdown. MDEC has been proactive with the legwork:

1.Training and education – webinars on digital adoption, investment, digital talent, e-Commerce, etc. These very informative online events are meant to upskill and reskill businesses and local talents so they can learn how to diversify and adapt to a post-MCO and COVID-19 world. Do follow the MDEC social media channels closely for the promotions and links to these online events. Most recently, MDEC partnered with online learning platform Coursera to upskill and certify unemployed Malaysians. This is a great chance for Malaysians who are considering career pivots or upgrades within the digital space, with high-quality courses brought to your fingertips as the restrictions in movement continue. Already, we are experiencing heightened interest to access these courses, especially in Data Science, Information Technology and Businesses themed courses. In just 2 weeks since the launch, 5000 unemployed Malaysians have signed up under this initiative. This is as good a time as any for workers to upskill and reskill to benefit from an increased demand for digitally-oriented jobs.

2. Ministry and industry engagements – Digital must be a national agenda, and I have conveyed this to the Prime Minister and the Economic Action Council recently. Following that, I am very happy to report that MDEC has been appointed the focal point for the National Digital Economy Task Force that will be led by KKMM with the support of MOSTI.  We have also been engaging the industry, for example the recent digital creative content industry engagement where YBM KKMM was the Guest of Honour. We collaborated with the industry to discuss the on-the-ground issues the sector faces and what to expect from a post COVID-19 era.

3. Business transformation post COVID-19 – The pandemic has forced businesses to either evolve or exit. Businesses are hungry for new ideas of innovation or diversification and the government has committed to support local businesses post the Movement Control Order (MCO). MDEC is gearing up to manage the large demand for digital transformation and ensure that our resources are adequate to support that. Depending on where various entrepreneurs are on their digital journey, MDEC has been training people to familiarise with e-Commerce for instance. The reliance on eCommerce is high now and if an entrepreneur is not digitally enabled, then the business is sub-optimal. Just last week, we conducted the nation’s first and largest e-Dagang expo (eDX) which was held over 5 days, offering 20 webinars and was attended by over 5000 registered participants, garnering more than 65,000 views. We partnered with Shoppee, Lazada, Carousell, Alibaba, Blibli, eBay and more. Entrepreneurs from the SME and MSME sectors could attend classes online to get the latest content to begin digitally enabling businesses as well as onboard with e-commerce, through the introduction to apps and tools. In fact, 97.7% of participants said that eDX has brought positive impact to their businesses. As a business aspiring to break digital barriers, this was a great opportunity to seize and take action to improve.

4. Investment Opportunities Post-COVID – MDEC has initiated a virtual platform recently to bridge local start-ups with global investors. Gobi Partners and MDEC have partnered to launch a pitching competition, called SuperSeed II Championship, for start-ups affected by COVID-19. The winning companies will get the opportunity to secure equity investment from Gobi Partners, or be a potential MDEC grant recipient. I recall investment decisions which used to transpire over chats with start-ups. Recently however, online-matching to accelerate start-ups has gained momentum. Malaysia’s first Digital Accelerator programme, the Alpha Startup Digital Accelerator (ASDA), successfully concluded on 5 May 2020, whittling down 15 finalists to three chosen startups; BlueDuck, Internspoon and Nanobar. Each received US$4,600 (RM20,000) to fulfil their business ideas. The programme was a collaboration between 1337 Ventures and MDEC. In addition to these efforts, MDEC is working intensively to assure the investors that Malaysia is indeed the Heart of Digital ASEAN and a very viable location for investment.

As people ponder on the possibilities of a new normal that will impact the nation and beyond over the coming months, the world hopes that COVID-19 may actually precipitate a better world for all of us. The advantage is that, the digital economy continues to spur jobs and opportunities, as shared above. Step up and take them!

The extraordinary upheaval that is COVID-19, has hits us hard. It is a time to stay safe, calm and civil, but it is not the time to retreat! Look challenges in the eye and boldly fight back, holding on to the strength of your spirit to overcome the odds.

Here’s to a blessed and peaceful Ramadan. Let us all stay positive and remember the values that this holy month espouses, in our on-going journey to try impact positive outcomes on all those around us. Let’s remain strong and resilient, for ourselves and our loved ones, taking positive resolutions in our lives and in our work, as we usher in Syawal this year.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

#Maaf Zahir dan Batin #LetsBuildTogether #DigitalMalaysiaForward #DigitalVsCovid #KomunikasiKita


Ramadan kebiasaanya menjadi masa kita untuk renungan, namun tahun in kita telah digolakkan oleh pandemik COVID-19 serta arahan perintah kawalan pergerakan (PKP) yang telah menjejaskan keadaan di Malaysia. Keadaan dunia hari ini membuatkan kita mempersoalkan keutamaan kolektif dan perasaan empati sesama manusia. Masa ini juga harus digunakan untuk memperkuat daya tahan individu.

MDEC, dalam menjalankan amanah untuk memimpin ekonomi digital Malaysia ke hadapan, telah mengaktifkan semua platform dan programnya dengan lebih banyak berbanding sebelumnya! Di saat negara dan rakyat menghadapi cabaran serius seperti kehilangan pekerjaan, pengurangan pendapatan, dan sistem pendidikan yang terganggu – MDEC telah melakukan yang terbaik dari segi menyediakan langkah-langkah untuk menangani cabaran COVID-19 kepada pelbagai komuniti melalui penyelesaian digital dan teknologi yang inovatif.

Dengan sokongan KKMM, kami berusaha untuk mempersiapkan negara supaya rakyat pulih kembali dari pandemik COVID-19. Inisiatif-inisiatif MDEC merangkumi:

1. Pendidikan – webinar mengenai penggunaan digital, pelaburan, bakat digital, e-dagang, dan lain-lain. Acara dalam talian yang sangat bermaklumat ini bertujuan untuk meningkatkan dan menyusun semula perniagaan dan bakat tempatan supaya mereka dapat belajar untuk menyesuaikan diri dengan pasca- MCO. Ikuti saluran media sosial MDEC dengan teliti untuk promosi dan pautan untuk pelbagai acara dalam talian ini. Baru-baru ini, MDEC bekerjasama dengan platform pembelajaran dalam talian Coursera untuk meningkatkan dan mengakreditasikan rakyat Malaysia yang tidak mempunyai peluang pekerjaan. Ini adalah peluang besar bagi rakyat Malaysia yang mempertimbangkan perkembangan kerjaya atau peningkatan ilmu digital, dengan kursus berkualiti tinggi dibawa ke hujung jari. Kami telah mendapat permintaan yang tinggi untuk kursus ini, terutamanya dalam kursus bertema Sains Data, Teknologi Maklumat dan Perniagaan. Hanya dalam 2 minggu sejak pelancaran, 5,000 rakyat Malaysia telah mendaftar di bawah inisiatif ini. Ini adalah saat yang baik bagi pekerja meningkatkan ilmu untuk mendapat peluang pekerjaan yang berorientasi digital.

2. Penglibatan Kementerian dan industri tempatan – Digital merupakan agenda nasional, dan saya telah menyampaikannya kepada Perdana Menteri dan Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi baru-baru ini. Berikutan itu, saya dengan senang hati melaporkan bahawa MDEC telah dilantik sebagai titik fokus bagi Pasukan Petugas Ekonomi Digital Nasional yang akan dipimpin oleh KKMM dengan sokongan MOSTI. Kami juga telah berkomunikasi dengan industri-industri terlibat, contohnya industri kandungan kreatif digital baru-baru ini di mana YBM KKMM merupakan tetamu kehormat. Kami bekerjasama dengan wakil-wakil industri untuk membincangkan isu-isu asas yang dihadapi dan apa yang diharapkan dari era pasca COVID-19.

3. Pasca transformasi perniagaan COVID-19 – Pandemik COVID-19 telah memaksa perniagaan untuk berkembang atau menarik diri. Perniagaan dahagakan idea inovasi atau kepelbagaian baru dan kerajaan Malaysia komited untuk menyokong perniagaan tempatan selepas Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (MCO). MDEC bersiap sedia untuk menguruskan permintaan besar untuk transformasi digital dan memastikan bahawa sumber daya kami mencukupi untuk menyokongnya. Bergantung pada tahap usahawan-usahawan ini dalam perjalanan digital mereka, MDEC telah melatih orang untuk membiasakan diri dengan e-Dagang misalnya. Ketergantungan pada e-dagang semakin tinggi sekarang dan jika seorang usahawan tidak diaktifkan secara digital, maka perniagaan mereka tidak dikira optimum. Pada minggu lalu, kami mengadakan ekspo e-Dagang (eDX) pertama dan terbesar di negara ini yang diadakan selama 5 hari, menawarkan 20 webinar dan dihadiri oleh lebih daripada 50,00 peserta berdaftar. Kami bekerjasama dengan Shoppee, Lazada, Carousell, Alibaba, Blibli, eBay dan banyak lagi. Usahawan dari sektor UKM dan MSME dapat mengikuti kelas dalam talian untuk mendapatkan kandungan terbaru untuk memulakan perniagaan secara digital dan juga menggunakan e-dagang, melalui pengenalan aplikasi dan teknologi. 97.7% peserta mengatakan bahawa eDX telah membawa kesan positif kepada perniagaan mereka.

4. Peluang pelaburan pasca COVID-19 – MDEC telah memperkenalkan platform maya untuk merapatkan syarikat tempatan dengan pelabur global. Gobi Partners dan MDEC telah bekerjasama untuk melancarkan pertandingan ‘pitching’, yang disebut ‘SuperSeed II Championship’, untuk ‘startup’ yang dipengaruhi oleh COVID-19. Syarikat yang menang akan mendapat peluang untuk mendapatkan pelaburan ekuiti dari Gobi Partners, atau berpotensi menjadi penerima geran MDEC. Baru-baru ini, pemadanan dalam talian untuk mempercepat permulaan telah mencecah momentum. Program Digital Accelerator pertama di Malaysia, Alpha Startup Digital Accelerator (ASDA), berjaya dilancarkan pada 5 Mei 2020, bermula dengan 15 finalis – kepada tiga yang terpilih; BlueDuck, Internspoon dan Nanobar. Masing-masing menerima AS $ 4,600 (RM20,000) untuk memenuhi idea perniagaan mereka. Program ini merupakan kerjasama antara 1337 Ventures dan MDEC. Sebagai tambahan kepada usaha ini, MDEC bekerja secara intensif untuk meyakinkan para pelabur bahawa Malaysia memang merupakan Pusat Digital ASEAN dan lokasi pelaburan yang sangat sesuai.

Sambil kita renungkan kemungkinan yang baru disebabkan oleh kesan pandemik ini kepada negara, seluruh dunia mengharapkan bahawa COVID-19 dapat benar-benar membina dunia yang lebih baik untuk kita semua.

POSITIVE IMPACT OF COVID-19? THE DIGITAL CONTENT INDUSTRY EXPLODES.

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

As Malaysians get used to the idea of working from home, there are bound to be distractions that will get in the way. Beyond keeping track of the many tips out there on how to remain focused during work hours and keeping the kids occupied, let’s not forget that proper work-life balance must also be maintained.

With everyone now staying at home, there are times – usually after working hours – that families can get together and catch a movie or play videogames together. Both – as orders of the day – are the usual first choices.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games as such content can do more than just provide pure entertainment. As is, games, movies, and drama series and animated shows on TV – especially, those that put family values and educational lessons front and centre – are now the default past-times for families to wind-down with.

According to The Star, Tencent picked up millions of new users for its mobile games and WeChat platform when COVID-19 global pandemic first struck China. This growing trend is set to continue at a global scale. Similarly, App Annie reported how citizens of both China and Italy are now spending more time on their smart devices after these countries respective lockdown began.

For Malaysia, there are plenty of locally made games and animated shows that have taken off to become global icons. This includes Thor: War of Tapnorok, Bake ‘n Switch, WarPods, King’s League II, BoiBoiBoy, Ejen Ali, Chuck Chicken and so many more. All of them will certainly experience a higher surge of user download and interactivity. After all, with the Restricted Movement Order in force, all family activities must now be indoors.

Bake ‘n Switch, a Malaysian made game for Nintendo Switch

Creative Push

What can content producers –animators, game designers and even comic artist – do while they’re stuck at home? Besides carrying on with their work and part-time hobbies, it is a great time to really flex their creative muscles as digital content is experiencing a huge growth surge.

In fact, the same App Annie report revealed in February 2020 how weekly game downloads in China went up by 80% compared to the average weekly download for the whole of 2019. This is certainly a good opportunity for the creative industry as the demand for content is now experiencing explosive growths.

As videogames and animated shows are the cornerstones for the Malaysia creative content industry, they are set to become next-gen business drivers in this expansive digital era. Right now, thanks to this massive spike in user demand, the content industry is at the forefront of change. Even Hollywood had to change their age-old strategy and pushed forward the digital release of new movies. NBC Universal made the first move as it announced plans to take its latest movies straight to digital on the same day as the theatrical release.

Malaysia’s Take

While things are changing for the creative content industry, the skyrocketing demand must be met head-on. That means making the best of this opportune time and upping the creativity of the industry as they push to meet market needs. Games and animation can focus more on driving awareness about COVID-19 and be educational for all. For example, Monsta Studios is currently working on brand-new content that educates about COVID-19 and the preventive measures to avoid further infection. Even Didi and Friends put out a new song to educate families on washing their hands properly.


The ‘Fight Coronavirus’
music video where Didi, Nana and Jojo show three easy steps to ensure the Covid-19 is kept away.

All these changes and innovations will drive the growth of next-gen content development. This includes making the games and animation, or related content, engaging for the entire family. That has been, and always will be, the driving force for the #HealthyGaming initiative. During this stay-at-home period, this platform and its on-going efforts will be well-suited for all to really learn and understand how creative content can boost family relationships, inspire creativity among youths, and energise positive innovation for the entire family.

#LetsBuildTogether #DigitalvsCovid #aniMYA


IMPAK POSITIVE COVID-19 BAGI INDUSTRI KANDUNGAN DIGITAL

Apabila rakyat Malaysia sudah biasa dengan idea bekerja dari rumah, pasti terdapat beberapa gangguan yang menjadi penghalang. Walaupun terdapat pelbagai tips-tips berguna yang dikongsikan untuk kita kekal fokus semasa dalam tempoh waktu bekerja dan memastikan keselamatan anak-anak terjamin, kita juga haruslah seimbangkan masa bekerja dan kehidupan seharian.  

Buat masa kini, semua rakyat harus kekal duduk di rumah, ada kalanya selepas waktu bekerja, ahli keluarga dapat duduk berkumpul bersama untuk menonton drama dan bermain permainan video bersama-sama. Ini adalah antara beberapa aktiviti pilihan yang biasa dilakukan bersama keluarga.

Permainan video dan kandungan boleh memberikan impak yang lebih bukan hanya sekadar hiburan samata-mata. Permainan video, drama bersiri dan rancangan animasi di televisyen adalah antara rancangan yang menonjolkan nilai-nilai kekeluargaan dan pembelajaran tetapi kesemua rancangan ini kian diketepikan. 

Menurut laporan The Star, apabila COVID-19 menyerang China, Tencent telah merekodkan berjuta pengguna baru dalam permainan mudah alih dan juga di dalam platform WeChat.  Trend ini semakin meningkat dan dijangka akan berterusan pada skala yang besar. App Annie juga melaporkan bagaimana rakyat kedua-dua negara China dan Itali yang kini lebih banyak menghabiskan masa pada peranti pintar mereka selepas perintah berkurung kedua-dua bermula.  

Di Malaysia, terdapat banyak permainan produk tempatan yang telah berjaya menjadi ikon global. Antaranya seperti Thor: War of Tapnorok, Bake ‘n Switch, WarPods, King’s League II, BoiBoiBoy, Ejen Ali, Chuck Chicken dan sebagainya di mana sudah pasti akan terdapat peningkatan pengguna dalam memuat turun dan inter-aktiviti juga semakin meningakat. Dengan berkuatkuasa Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan ini, semua ahli keluarga harus sentiasa berada di dalam rumah. 

Faktor Kreatif

Apa yang dilakukan oleh pengeluar kandungan , juruanimasi, pereka permainan video dan artis komik ketika mereka berada di rumah? Selain dari melakukan kerja seharian ataupun hobi, ini adalah masa terbaik bagi mereka untuk  berinspirasi memandangkan pada masa kini permintaan terhadapa industi kreatif sedang meningkat. 

Malah, dalam laporan App Annie pada Februari 2020 menunjukkan peningkatan mingguan sebanyak 80% di China dalam muat turun permainan berbanding dengan purata mingguan muat turun bagi keseluruhan tahun 2019. Ini merupakan peluang terbaik bagi industri kreatif memandangkan permintaan terhadap kandungan sedang meningkat. 

Memandangkan permainan video dan rancangan animasi adalah asas kepada kandungan industri kreatif Malaysia, mereka telah bersedia untuk menjadi penggerak dalam generasi seterusnya bagi era digital ini. Kini, industri kandungan berada di tanggan teratas kerana terdapatnya pemintaan yang tinggi daripada pengguna. Hollywood juga terpaksa mengubah strategi lama mereka bagi melonjakkan filem digital. NBC Universal juga telah mengorak langkah pertama dengan mengumumkan rancangan di mana filem terbaru mereka telah digitalkan pada hari yang sama filem teater ditayangkan.

Peranan Malaysia

Dalam perubahan yang berlaku terhadapa industri kandungan kreatif sekarang, permintaan yang tinggi terhadap industri ini harus diutamakan. Permainan video dan animasi  boleh memberikan penekanan kepada kesedaran tentang COVID-19 sebagai panduan kepada semua. Contohnya, Monsta Studios sedang membangunkan kandungan yang berunsurkan pembelajaran tentang COVID-19 dan cara-cara mengatasi jangkitan wabak tersebut. Didi and Friends juga telah menerbitkan sebuah lagu untuk dijadikan panduan kepada rakyat tentang cara-cara membasuh tangan dengan betol.

Segala perubahan dan inovasi yang berlaku ini akan mendorong kepada perkembangan kandungan kepada generasi akan datang. Ini termasuklah menjadikan permainan video dan animasi atau mana-mana kandungan yang berkaitan sesuai untuk seisi keluarga dalam dalam menggerakkan inisiatif #HealthyGaming. Dalam tempoh perintah kawalan pergerakan ini dimana rakyat harus duduk di rumah, platform ini boleh digunapakai oleh semua golongan dalam memahami bagaimana kandungan kreatif ini dapat meningkatkan hubungan kekeluargaan, menjana kreativiti golongan belia dan menjadi aspirasi kepada seluruh ahli keluarga. 

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