LANGKAWI: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that his Malaysia Incorporated concept of the 1980s was now more important than ever to achieve the country’s big and ambitious goals.
Speaking at the launch of demonstration projects for 5G mobile communications technology here, Mahathir said the Malaysia Inc concept was still applicable to this day.
The Malaysia Inc concept integrates the private and public sectors into one common objective.
“Because of such collaboration, I am pleased to see that we have 56 live 5G sites in Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Selangor, Terengganu and Penang,” he said.
Mahathir said Malaysia needed to be agile, as change is a daily constant in today’s high-tech world. “If we remain stagnant, we will not be able to compete in the global economy,” he said.
The prime minister said the commercial roll-out of 5G technology would begin in the third quarter of this year, and would help achieve the target of providing every citizen a decent standard of living by 2030.
Education was key in ensuring that technology is able to benefit the society, he said. Schoolchildren as well as those already working must understand technology. “It has to be emphasised and promoted now,” he said.
Mahathir said 5G technology could guarantee that quality education is spread far and wide, connecting the unconnected in the rural areas. “Teaching can move beyond the confines of the classroom while students can learn and interact in different ways than we do today.”
Young Malaysians needed not only data-driven skills, but also mental agility, because disruption had become the norm, he said.
Mahathir said countries such as China, the United States and South Korea were already rolling out 5G technology in areas such as autonomous cars and remote surgery, which were not possible with previous generations of mobile networks.
Citing data by Euromonitor International, he said online retail sales in Malaysia would surge to RM30 billion by 2030, of which RM18 billion would be purchases using smartphones.
However, technology should complement the workforce to become more effective, knowledgeable, and productive.
“Technology that displaces humans runs contrary to the country’s aspirations as outlined in the government’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030,” he said.
Mahathir said Malaysia was now “at a tipping point where we can either rise or falter” in economic growth.