Image credit: The Sun Daily

KUALA LUMPUR: Accelerating digital empowerment to enrich the lives and livelihoods of Malaysians is the best way forward.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Azmin Ali said the Covid-19 crisis had highlighted the need for a rapid transformation of the Malaysian economy.

"The fact is that the pandemic has jolted us to the reality of how crucial and pervasive digitalisation is and why we need it more than ever to future-proof our businesses.

"Digitalisation drives productivity and enhances connectivity among working peers, customers, and business partners beyond geographical borders and may even help in reducing the carbon footprint.

"It will help us achieve sustainable economic growth while protecting the environment and the well-being of the people," he said in his keynote address during a webinar organised by the Malaysia Productivity Corporation today.

Azmin said Malaysia should seize emerging trends and opportunities to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic which had lasting implications on global investment.

"As foreign direct investment (FDI) will be affected, we must find enablers to have a better future which is a quality investment.

"In the current situation, I would like to urge the business community to look at the challenges they are facing as an opportunity to add value to their business.

"There is no better time than now to fast-track their digitalisation agenda, across all facets of their businesses."

Azmin said Malaysia was doing its utmost to confront the crisis and had implemented incremental measures to mitigate the unintended economic consequences of the battle against Covid-19.

He said to resuscitate the economy, the government had laid out a six-phase plan, called 6R, to achieve the medium and long-term goals, namely, Resolve, Resilience, Restart, Recovery, Revitalise and Reform.

He said Resolve was when the government had implemented the Movement Control Order to control the spread of the virus and by all accounts, this had proven to be successful.

"Resilience was when we launched the RM260 billion Prihatin economic stimulus packages, which firmly underscores the government's responsiveness to the pressing issues faced by the rakyat and businesses.

"(And) now, we are in the Restart phase where almost all economic sectors are allowed to operate. MITI and its agencies are committed to assisting Malaysian companies to remain competitive during these difficult times and help our local companies especially the small-medium enterprises to remain resilient."

Azmin said the government had facilitated the business community's transition to operate in an environment that was safe for all, by providing them with a set of sector-specific standard operating procedures (SOPs).

"All companies operating out there must adhere to the SOPs and create a safe environment for their workers and customers.

"Failure to comply with the SOPs will result in legal action."

Azmin added while stringent enforcement would be implemented by Federal and state enforcement agencies, the real success to ensure the health and safety of the rakyat lies in self-enforcement on the part of each ministry as well as community enforcement.