KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Malaysia has demonstrated its commitment to socio-economic development via digitalisation and to ensuring that both businesses and the people benefit, according to an academician.
Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) assistant vice-chancellor (infostructure), Assoc Prof Dr Juliana Johari, said the country has achieved a marked improvement in several digital indicators, showing advancements in both digital literacy and Internet access.
She was commenting on recent reports that the country has been ranked 15th in the world and third in the Asean region in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Development Index 2023 (IDI 2023).
Last week, Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil announced that Malaysia achieved a score of 94.5 points out of 100 in IDI 2023, surpassing the global average score of 72.8 points and thus showing an excellent achievement towards achieving the universal and meaningful connectivity target.
According to Juliana, several programmes, namely the National Digital Network Plan (Jendela), the Digital Economy Centres (PEDi) and the National Broadband Initiative, have been launched to boost Internet access further.
“These programmes are implemented by the government to improve and upgrade the country’s telecommunications infrastructure.
“This opens up more opportunities for businesses and people to take advantage of digital technology,” she told Bernama.
Juliana opined that through such programmes, the government hopes to drive the growth of the digital economy; increase access to business, education and health services via technology; and strengthen social integration nationwide.
She also said that UiTM had received significant investment in digital infrastructure, with RM42.6 million allocated by the government to upgrade Internet services at its 34 campuses.
“This proves the country’s commitment to equipping educational institutions with the best digital facilities,” she said.
She added that the use of applications such as MySejahtera has brought a sea change in digital communications in Malaysia, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“More recently, amid the rapid development of technology, the government has announced the launch of the Central Database Hub (Padu) system on January 2, 2024.
“Padu is a secure and comprehensive national database that brings us to the era of digitalisation and the use of accurate analytics,” she said.
Juliana said that she does not see IDI 2023’s ranking of Malaysia at the 15th spot globally as surprising.
“I believe that with the government’s efforts to make digitalisation a success in Malaysia, all our businesses and citizens will hopefully become digitally literate,” she added.