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Steering the Course of Malaysia's Industrial Progress with Innovation

February 14, 2023
By Fazlyn Kamal, Director of Strategic Communication, MRANTI
5 mins read

Envisioning a Sustainable Future at MRANTI I-Nation

Efficiency is the biggest contributor to profit opportunities. Approximately 94% of businesses in Malaysia intend to accelerate their technology adoption over the next 12 months to increase productivity and capitalise on greater profit prospects. 

This was revealed at MRANTI’s  flagship event, I-Nation 2022, which gave insight into modern industrialisation issues. Attended by various industry professionals, the two-day conference was an excellent opportunity to learn about trends and technologies in other countries. It also served as a platform for innovators from Malaysian corporations, startups, and universities to showcase their best ideas. 

In response to the global trends, the event devoted a portion of its agenda to discussing the growing industries and how adoption can harness positive changes.

Food Security

Technology can be leveraged to impact food security. According to Dr. Wong Chee Chiew, Partner at Kearney, there are some priority areas we can focus on to address the food security issue. He said: "The first is to build future readiness in the food supply chain by investing in various companies globally that produce different sources."

Corporate sectors may contribute by being strategic partners with those with their supply chain network. Securing the right companies to work with will also mean securing suitable food sources for global disruptions. 

The struggle to keep up with the rising food cost hinders people from following a healthy diet plan. Therefore, processed food is becoming an option, says Dr. Billy Tang Chee Seng, Founder and CEO of Paraplegic Farmer, PWD Smart Farmability, whose team has innovated the world's first regenerative organic vegetable terrarium, which provides an incredible chance for poor households to access adequate nutrition.

He said: "This innovation is regenerative without fertilisers and helps with carbon action." The sustainable use of agritech is a potent tool to combat food insecurity amongst disadvantaged households while at the same time exposing a wealth of economic opportunities.

In addition, the sector provides significant opportunities for entrepreneurs; with the investment in agritech estimated to exceed US$43 billion by 2027, it is an economy that should be considered.

MRANTI is rising to the forefront of the agritech sector to help startups take advantage of its future growth. The agency has been appointed as the coordinating agency and secretariat of the Malaysia Drones Technology Action Plan 2022-2030 (MDTAP30). Among the strategic mission is to provide the agriculture sector with a scalable solution to address the labour shortage and generate higher yields.

Climate Change

Malaysia facing drastic environmental changes present daunting challenges for all. To adapt to the changing climate, Malaysians must actively alleviate existing practices contributing to climate change and explore new ways of addressing it through innovative technologies and responsible consumption habits.

"The world has heated up to more than 1.1 degrees Celsius, which means the Earth is running a fever," says Lakshmi Lavanya, Head of Policy & Climate Change, WWF Malaysia.

WWF believes collaborative partnerships can help restore the forest and its ecosystem. For a project in a palm oil plantation in Sabah, they utilised elephant collaring to understand the current situation further.

A technological fix to solve climate change in corporate sectors includes acquiring companies' value chain data. More data means better access to assess risk and easily understand the ESG profile of the corporations.

Gary Theseira, Council Member of Climate Governance Malaysia (GCM), mentioned that Bank Negara, Bursa Malaysia, and The Joint Committee of Climate Change (JC3) are actively identifying data gaps and putting the public, multinational listed companies, and SMEs on the platforms for other enterprises to expand their transparency.

Economic Inclusivity

Entrepreneurship is often seen as the holy grail of economic independence, especially for marginalised communities and individuals with limited resources. However, there is a need to recognise that individuals in these situations may require more handholding support than traditionally observed, said Dash Dhakshinamoorthy, founder of Startup Malaysia.

Support should begin with making entrepreneurial studies accessible. By giving equal access to resources designed to nurture ideas into business prospects, society can create a level playing field towards self-reliance and success.

Gender Diversity

Statistics from Deloitte Global show that only 33% of the workforce are made up of female employees in 2022, which is far from satisfactory. Companies have been striving towards workplace diversity but are challenged with gender stereotypes and minuscule tech-related positions for women.

Catherine Lian, Managing Director of IBM Malaysia, spoke on the need to increase the presence of women in executive positions in the tech sector to 30%. 

She said: "The situation is dire due to the disruption caused globally by the pandemic, which has caused many women in leadership roles to leave their jobs and take care of their families."

Universities must shape programmes dedicated to transitioning graduated students into leadership positions and provide aspiring women with mentorship and guidance on handling high-level career trajectories. 

MRANTI's CEO, Dzuleira Abu Bakar, also believes in women's leadership in senior positions. She previously achieved a 1:1 gender ratio organisation at MaGIC which, hopefully, MRANTI will accomplish.

“As technology advances at a breakneck pace, we have become accustomed to using it for everything, and we often overlook the consequences such advancements can bring to our planet. To ensure sustainable living, we must learn how to use technology responsibly while also environmentally-safe technological innovations. It should aim to better our lives and preserve them.”