PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed confidence that Malaysia will be able to leverage on the 5G cellular network within the next three years, to usher in transformational technology.
He said this will enable the country to punch above its own weight and catapult the national economy towards strong and sustainable growth.
“We have come a long way and yet there’s still a distance to go.
“What we are doing today is the cornerstone of Malaysia’s march into the new age and a vital foundation for us to remain relevant and competitive,” he said in his speech when launching the 5G Malaysia Showcase 2019 here today.
Present were Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
Mahathir also recognised businesses as the main stakeholders and stressed the need to continue improving the environment for the businesses to prosper.
Mahathir said the ability to keep abreast and in tandem with technological progress will have a bearing on economic success.
“Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to entreat business leaders to quickly embrace Industry 4.0 and complement their plans with comprehensive augmentation strategies.
“To remain dynamic and competitive in an age of machines, they must invest in their human capital.
“There is both a moral and economic imperative to do so.
“Without proactive approaches, businesses and workers may lose out on the economic potential of the digital age,” he said.
Mahathir also took a trip down memory lane, to the time he launched the Multimedia Super Corridor in 1996 to encourage the emergence of the multimedia industry locally.
He noted that at the time, the world was facing unprecedented change, with borders disappearing due to the ease of global communications, capital flows, the movement of goods and people across the globe.
“It was then envisaged that Malaysia should be an exporter of technology. In addition, the MSC was to showcase to Malaysians the technological possibilities that existed and the endless possibilities they offered.
“Since its inception in 1996, the MSC has generated more than RM47 billion in revenue from more than 3,000 companies and created more than 160,000 jobs.
“The opportunities for growth remain, very much due to the ever-expanding boundaries of the digital economy,” he said.
Mahathir said when the MSC was first introduced, the internet was still nascent and now they are on a threshold of another unprecedented change.
“Triggered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the borderless world is now beginning to shape itself into an age of boundless connectivity where machines can communicate without human intervention through the Internet of Things (IoT) that are capable of making automation more intelligent – subsequently driving a near-endless array of services and applications.”
He also said the Fourth Industrial Revolution was melding advances in the digital, physical and biological spheres, bringing with it breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, virtual reality and software engineering.
At the end of the speech, participants were introduced to Aisyah, a girl who had co-starred with Mahathir in a video produced in the run-up to the 14th general election last year.
In a light-hearted conversation, Aisyah posed several questions to the nonagenarian.
“Tun, when you were my age, what G were you on?” she asked.
Mahathir cheekily replied, “zero-G”, eliciting laughter from the audience.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman was later asked what would come after 5G.
“Human teleportation,” he joked.
The heartwarming moment culminated with Mahathir kissing Aisyah’s forehead.