PETALING JAYA, Feb 19 — The government is advising and encouraging industry players whose businesses are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak to retain and retrain their employees to prepare for a rebound.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Wira Amiruddin Hamzah said the government had already engaged with the affected industry players and is now looking into the stimulus package to be offered in order to help them.
“We hope the employers could consider their decisions carefully.
“Of course, in stimulus package, we would offer something to ease the burden of employers so that they would not make the layoff decisions, but rather make sure they are ready to pounce on the bounce back when it happens,” he told reporters after the launch of the first Islamic Centre for Emerging Technologies ( ICET).
ICET is a tripartite public-private partnership between SEGi University, MIMOS Bhd and RM Application Sdn Bhd, aimed at championing technology research and development programmes and training on Islamic financing and traction that are in line with Industrial Revolution 4.0 ( IR4.0).
Amiruddin said Malaysia has been the frontrunner and model for Islamic businesses, such as the halal market, Islamic banking and takaful, hence the set-up of ICET is commendable in an effort to generate technology which will keep the nation in the lead.
“As in many other industry sectors, the financial sector here and everywhere in the world is going through a period of rapid change. In particular, technology is disrupting a whole range of functions in the services industry.
“Disruptive technology is now the buzzword within the industry, not just a backroom activity, not just something confined to start-ups, but all incumbent banks and financial institutions are embracing technology and innovations.
“They have to do so, otherwise, they will not be able to keep up with the changes,” he said.
Starting the new year with uncertainties in the external environment, and despite the dark clouds over the horizon, Asia is the fastest-growing region globally, he added.
As Asia’s growth continues, and with a rapidly growing middle-class, Amiruddin said the prospects for Islamic-based businesses especially Islamic finance are positive over the medium to longer term.
Meanwhile, SEGi University vice-chancellor Professor Dr Patrick Kee said with the technology sector changing at an exponential rate, industry preparedness becomes a matter of great importance especially for the university as it is in business of grooming future talents.
“Through the ICET initiative, SEGi will not only reinforce its position as a leading institution towards IR4.0 but have the opportunity to strengthen the nation’s position as a global hub for Islamic financial technology,” he said.
Under the ICET tripartite partnership, SEGi University serves as the knowledge and content partner, MIMOS functions as the technical partner, and RM Application acts as the content, implementation and product commercialisation partner.
The centre will undertake a research initiative on innovative chatbots and artificial Shariah intelligence.