KUALA LUMPUR: Initiatives like the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) are tools to prepare young people for jobs that do not even exist yet, former prime minister Najib Razak said today.
The DFTZ, according to Najib, was expected to create 60,000 jobs, facilitate US$65 billion (RM260.4 billion) worth of traded goods by 2025, and double the trans-shipment and cargo volume for Malaysia by that year.
“The digital economy is the fastest growing sector in our economy. It currently accounts for 18.2% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is expected to grow and contribute 20% to our country’s GDP by 2020.
“I am grateful that the DFTZ, which the previous BN government had worked to conceptualise and launch in record speed together with Alibaba, has not been cancelled by the Pakatan Harapan government,” he said in a Facebook posting today.
Alibaba Group opened its Kuala Lumpur office today, marking a new chapter in the company’s deepening strategic cooperation with Malaysia, which is the first Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) hub outside of China.
In a statement, the e-commerce giant quoted Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as saying that the eWTP, together with DFTZ, would encourage more Malaysian small and medium enterprises to participate in e-commerce and increase their exports to other countries in Asia and beyond.
The DFTZ initiative was launched by Najib, together with Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma, who was also named as an adviser to the Malaysian government on digital economy.
Ma had earlier today held an hour-long meeting with new Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He also officially opened Alibaba’s first office in Southeast Asia in Bangsar South here today.
Mahathir had been reported as saying that the DFTZ project would continue as planned.