Saturday, September 20, 2008

PERDANA ESSAY 2008

Question: What is your vision for Malaysia in 2057 when the country celebrates its Centennial Independence celebration?

Title: Malaysian Makeover: From Manufacture to Multimedia

When the country celebrates its Centennial Independence, I foresee Malaysia as a developed country, with large metropolitan cities populated by technologically advanced and knowledgeable citizens. It would be a prosperous nation with an educated workforce who enjoys a high living standard. We would also be a highly competitive and innovative global player, instantly recognizable and respected in the international arena.

I believe this vision is possible based on Malaysia’s development track record from the post-merdeka days until now, mainly due to its dynamic policies and effective leadership. Also, by the year 2057, Vision 2020 would have long been achieved and Malaysia’s status as a developed country will no longer be in its infancy.

Malaysia has seen a three-phase transition throughout her fifty years of independence. Starting off from agriculture to industry and now, k-economy, Malaysia strives to survive as one of Asia’s economic powers since the conception of her industrialization phase. Tremendous progress had been made within this period, and I believe another fifty years will see the country achieve even higher goals.
Among the earliest formulated policies is the New Economic Policy (NEP) which has been put into great effect in eradicating the identification of race with economic function and reducing the incidence of poverty. When the country’s riches are evenly distributed regardless of race or status, only then can you have active participation from a nation-wide work force.
The Human Poverty Index value of 8.3 ranks Malaysia 16th among 108 developing countries in 20041.
This shows that the standard of living of our people has increased over the years, and as a result, promoted a more integrated interracial society, the core strength of our country’s development.
Statistics also show that sound economic fundamentals have enabled the country to achieve real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.7% per annum. If we continue to grow by 7% per annum, we would be able to achieve Vision 2020 in no time at all2.
Based on these trends, Malaysians are already enjoying a higher standard of living and the economy is continuing to grow at a steady rate. Thus, I believe Malaysia would be a developed country and prosperous nation by the year 2057.
As an extension of the NEP, the New Development Policy was formulated which still focuses on the core issues of the NEP but has been revised to suit the requirement of an evolving international economic agenda. This policy focuses on the next step of Malaysia’s development, which is enhancing the human resource.
In recent years, the literacy rate has increased to 93.5% in 2000 and 92.7% of the male population aged 6 years and over had ever been to school compared to 87.6% for females in Census 20003.

This shows that more and more people have been given the opportunity to obtain education. Due to this, Malaysia’ s Human Development Index (HDI) stands at 0.811, which gives the country a rank of 63rd out of 177 countries with data in 20054.
Other policies have been previously implemented in an array of Malaysia’s national development plans. This includes the Leadership by Example and Look East Policy, which have taught us to learn from the successful. These two policies have also allowed us access to technology transfer and emulation of the Japanese managerial system. Malaysians were provided a valuable learning experience and the opportunity to adopt an efficient work culture and thus, helped changed the people’s mindset.
With the implementation of all these policies and continued good leadership, by the year 2057, we will have a nation of well-educated, intellectual, capable people with good work ethics.
Historically, ever since the Melaka Sultanate, Malaysia’s economic forte’ has always been international trade, but back then, we mainly relied on our natural resources. In order to remain competitive on the global arena, Tun Dr. Mahathir stressed on the importance of industrialization and innovation so that our economy has an added domestic value5.
It was Tun Dr. Mahathir who liberalized Malaysia’s economy because he knew that Foreign Direct Investment was one way to obtain capital for Malaysia’s development. This was the reason Malaysia’s economy was financially strong. Apart from the effective capital control, we were able to recover from the Asian Economy Crisis of 1997 because of our financially strong economy6.
Malaysia was to be made into a business-friendly environment to attract foreign investors with the accessibility of trained work force, well-developed infrastructure and telecommunications support, excellent human resource development, liberal investment policies and attractive tax incentives7.
This has benefited our country in terms of technology transfer, increase of production, expansion of trade, and has made our country more competitive on an international arena8.
The Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry alone was estimated to be worth US$75 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 25% in 1999. Exports of electronic products from Malaysia continued to grow and amounted to US$48.2 Billion in 20039.
Our industrialization and foreign investment policies have made us stronger globally in international trade and in fifty years, I think Malaysia will be a competitive force to be reckoned with.
Malaysia’s capability to sustain growth and expand its economic potential through the development of human resource is becoming even more important due to globalization. Thus, our country must embrace the digital age and shift to k-economy.
The platform for Malaysia’s shift to a knowledge-based economy began with the conception of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC).
The MSC in its essence acts as a test bed for multinational companies to explore multimedia technologies. MSC was envisioned to be a catalyst for technological advancement both on the global scale and locally due to its ideal environment for IT and multimedia. The MSC encompasses well-structured infrastructures and facilities, productive workforce, specialized cyber laws that deal with computer crimes, illegal access in intellectual property protection and policies.
These policies facilitated the movement of knowledge workers in and out of MSC. It allows 100% ownership and unrestricted employment of foreign knowledge workers as well as tax incentives10. This will indeed ease the knowledge acquirement for our locals to develop and apply in our innovations for an added value of our economy. When our country becomes a hub of knowledge acquirement, process and distribution, our economy is also guaranteed to flourish as it did during the Melaka Sultanate.
In its second phase, the MSC has been expanded to other regions of Malaysia, for example, the Kulim Hi-Tech Park.
The Kulim Hi-Tech Park acts as a site for research and development (R&D) industries to flourish such as microelectronics, medical and scientific instrumentation, and biotechnology, aerospace as well as other emerging and new technologies. Basically, the Kulim H-Tech Park is set up for scientists and researchers to explore and experiment new technologies to add value to Malaysia’s production line.
Both MIMOS and Sirim are working to also develop an electronics centre and Advanced Material Research centre to control the quality of production.
To date, MSC-status accreditation has been given to 110 companies, out of which 84 are already in operation. In April 2001, there were a total of 180 applications for MSC-status, out of which 34 percent are from foreign companies, 43 percent from Malaysian companies, and 23 percent from joint ventures between Malaysian and foreign companies11.
The developments for the digital future initiated by the MSC would have given birth to an explosion of new ideas, technology and innovation so that by 2057, Malaysia would have become a nation highly advanced in their knowledge and their ability to harness potential resources.
However, lest we forget that it is the people who make the nation; human development must also be taken into account. If we look at the nine challenges outlined in Tun Dr. Mahathir’s Vision 2020, most of the challenges that need to be overcome are those regarding the people themselves.
Hence, Malaysia’s other agenda other than the infrastructural transformation is developing the people themselves as each individual becomes an important asset in Malaysia’s growth sustenance.
The plan dedicated for the human resource development of Malaysia is the K-economy Master Plan.
In the K-economy Master Plan, the nation aims to reduce the number of foreign workers by 100 000 a year, reducing the number of low-knowledge workers 95 000 annually while accepting 5 000 “extraordinary world citizens”12
Tun Dr. Mahathir stressed on the urgency to enhance the production and supply of information, knowledge and wisdom and assure the accessibility to all the people.
Henceforth, the government has taken measures to bridge the digital gap and the people themselves must also be aware of the situation and take their own initiatives to master the digital wave. This can be done by cultivating a culture whereby every person strives to learn and acquire knowledge, and is inquisitive, sensitive and updated of the local and global current issues.
The government has taken several initiatives in ensuring that everybody has access to multimedia privileges and acquire ICT skills. Many efforts have been made in this conquest. For example, e-Melaka and e-Bario programs.
In e-Melaka, cybercaf├ęs were used as training centers to teach the rural community. By the end of 2004 the scheme had managed to train 25 000 participants. Whereas in e-Bario, computers, telephones and VSATs were utilized to connect the villagers in remote areas to the internet. These projects help to bridge the gap between the rural students and the students in urban areas13.
Even now, smart schools and ICT subjects at schools have been introduced to ensure that the people have acquired the skills at an early age.
Thus, by 2057, not only will the wealth and riches be evenly distributed, the people will also get to share equally in the knowledge and skills to survive in a globalized world.

The country does not need workers who are merely robots. The country needs thinking workers who have the knowledge to manage global-scaled projects and make decisions for the benefit of the nation. The productivity of a worker is measured by knowledge and skills in the era of K-economy. That is why the government now is focusing on the development of R&D where a thinking community can be developed through the promotion of critical and analytical thinking when conducting research and experiments.

The education system itself has to take on new strategies to develop a critical and analytical mode of thinking to create well-educated, highly-skilled and strongly motivated labor force14.

To summarize, dynamic policies and effective leadership has seen Malaysia develop from agriculture to industry and k-economy in the last fifty years since our independence. Our living standards have been raised, promoting a more integrated interracial society. There are also more opportunities provided for education. Industrialization and innovation has helped our economy grow and become stronger by increasing production and expanding trade. It has also brought us technology transfer, and efforts are being made for further technological advancement and R&D.

Malaysia also has plans for human resource development to ensure its people have equal access to knowledge and skills required for our country to be more competitive on an international arena.

In conclusion, based on our track record, one hundred years after its independence, I envision Malaysia to be a developed, technologically advanced country populated by a thinking society, a prosperous nation where wealth and knowledge are equally shared. It is a country recognized for its economic strength and competitive edge.


NOTES

  1. Available online at http://hdrstats.undp.org/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_MYS.html
  2. 21st century Malaysia: Challenges and Strategies in Attaining Vision 2020 (2002).
  3. Available online at www.statistics.gov.my/English/news/pressedu.htm
  4. Available online at http://hdrstats.undp.org/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_MYS.html
  5. Mahathir Mohamad: A Visionary & His Vision of Malaysia’s k-economy (2002). Quoting Tun,

“We stated our conviction that ‘What we have between our ears is much more important than what we have below our feet and around us.’ We understood fully that ‘our people are our greatest resource”.

  1. Proma-Chondra Athukorala (2003).
  2. Available online at office.investpenang.gov.my/_files/modbuild/pdf_ems.pdf
  3. Available online at www.moe.edu.my/rnd/simulasi/LAP7/NOTA/MARA%20-%20briefing.ppt
  4. Available online at office.investpenang.gov.my/_files/modbuild/pdf_ems.pdf
  5. Mahathir Mohamad: A Visionary & His Vision of Malaysia’s k-economy (2002).
  6. Mahathir Mohamad: A Visionary & His Vision of Malaysia’s k-economy (2002).
  7. Available online at 161.139.39.251/akhbar/economic.policy/2000/ns00309
  8. Available online at pppjj.usm.my/mojit/articles/pdf/April05/10-Zaitun-final.pdf
  9. Available online at www.mier.org.my/mierscan/archives/pdf/musalmah24_11_2001.pdf

Bibliography

Athukorala, Proma-Chondra. 2003. Crisis and Recovery: The Role of Capital Controls. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

Davi, Stan and Davidson, Bill. 2020 Vision Transform Your Business Today to Succeed in
Tomorrow’s Economy
. Simon and Schuster.

Emsley, Ian. 1996. The Malaysian Experience of Affirmative Action: Lessons for South Africa. Human and Rousseur Tafelberg.

McRae, Hamish. 1994. The World in 2020: Power, Culture and Prosperity A Vision of the Future. Harper Collins.
Navaratnam, Ramon V. 2006. Quo Vadis Malaysia? = Where to Malaysia: Can We Achieve Vision 2020 on Time? Malaysian Institute of Management.

Ooi Kee Beng. 2006. The Reluctant Politician: Tun Dr Ismail and his Time. Singapore: Insitute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Stewart, Thomas A. 1997. Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations. Nicholas Brealy Publishing.

2002. 21st Century Malaysia: Challenges and Strategies in Attaining Vision 2020. Michael Yeoh, editor. Asian Academic Press.

2002. Mahathir Mohamad: A Visionary & His Vision of Malaysia’s k-economy. Ng Tieh Chuan and David N. Abdulai, eds. Kuala Lumpur: Pelanduk Publication.

Internet Sources

http://hdrstats.undp.org/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_MYS.html

Accessed 28 May 2008.

www.statistics.gov.my/English/news/pressedu.htm Accessed June 1 2008.

2004. Electronics Industry Division, MIDA April. Accessed May 29 2008.

www.moe.edu.my/rnd/simulasi/LAP7/NOTA/MARA%20-%20briefing.ppt

Hong, Carolyn. 2000. <161.139.39.251/akhbar/economic.policy/2000/ns00309> 8 March. Accessed May 28 2008.

www.mier.org.my/mierscan/archives/pdf/musalmah24_11_2001.pdf Accessed June 5 2008.

B, Zaitun A and Barbara Crump. 2005.”Overcoming the Digital Divide – A Proposal on How Institutions of Higher Education Can Play a Role” Journal of Instructional Technology. Vol. 2, No. 1, April.

Yang, Rosalind. 2007. “Under Recognized or Hesitant Partner in the Quest for k-economy.” 6 June. www.azam.org.my/3rdvoice/ArticleWednesdayJune062007.aspAZAM= Angkatan Zaman MAnsang and Sarawak Development Accessed June 3 2008.

Other Sources

Newspaper Articles

Utusan Malaysia, Mohd Arif Atan “Revolusi Sosial Bantu Capai Wawasan 2020”, 2 Mac 2007.
Utusan Malaysia, “Fasa Kedua Wawasan 2020 Lebih Mencabar”, 1 Mac 2007.
Utusan Malaysia, Aznan Bakar “2020 Wawasan Rakyat”, 31 Oktober 2003

Speeches

Mahathir Mohamad, Perhimpunan Teknologi Maklumat dan Komunikasi(ICT) untuk k-economy, Stadium Putra Bukit Jalil 17 Februari 2001.

Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia on Track for 2020 Vision, Pejabat Perdana Menteri, Putrajaya, 1 January 2003.

1 comment:

Shadow Gunslinger said...

Hey, kak.
Recent updates:
-Buka puasa at datuk's house.
-Final exams after raya.
-Emo-ing(NOT). Wut's emo btw? :P
-Bored.

Hope you're having fun.
Cheers!