Industrial Revolution 4.0 has brought with it massive, game-changing ideas and innovations that could potentially increase productivity and efficiency across multiple industries. As such, nations and organisations from around the world are scrambling to adapt to these new technologies while looking for the right talent to handle them.

Comparatively, Malaysia has been rather slow on the uptake. Efforts are being made by local industries and SMEs to disrupt and transform themselves to match the needs of IR4.0, but the process has been slow. As a result, Malaysia risks losing out on the potential new innovations from the very real, but untapped talent that exists within the nation. SMEs in particular are noted as being slow on the IR4.0 uptake due to a lack of sufficient resources or readiness to transform.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will change the kinds of jobs needed in industry. Our strong view is that, as a nation, we must create the jobs of the future. Our goal must be to automate work, but humanise jobs. Allow machines to do the dangerous and repetitive, and ensure we humans have the capacity to do the creative, empathetic and interactive,” said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad during his speech at the Beyond Paradigm Summit 2019.

Dr Mahathir said therefore, an urgent response is needed for Malaysia to create, adopt, and integrate disruptive technological solutions to transform the workforce and industries. He also further emphasised the need for there to be a symbiotic relationship between relevant government bodies and the private sector in order to fully manifest and take advantage of the technological innovations within the country’s economic framework.

In addition to this, Dr Mahathir also urged SMEs and local industries to be at the forefront, pioneering the digital transformations of the nation in order to stay attractive for investors and competitive on the global scale.

“To establish an ecosystem of Industry 4.0, both industry leaders and the talent supply have to fully understand and embrace the disruptive technologies. For now, adapting is a must, but soon, mastering the technology is fundamental,” he said.

According to the Prime Minister, despite all the technological disruptions that are threatening traditional jobs, the government is determined to create a future of a Malaysia that is fair and humane, revelling in shared prosperity.

“Furthermore, it has been projected that 65 per cent of today’s children, currently in primary education, will be working in jobs that do not exist today. As 70 per cent of our current workforce are SPM graduates, reskilling Malaysians of all ages is imperative to ensure success, within our economic landscape for the years to come,” he concluded.