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ASEAN Needs Full Preparation Moving Towards Digital Economy

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SUNNYLANDS (California), – The ASEAN Community needs full preparation, including further promotion of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, as the region moves towards the digital economy, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Malaysian Prime Minister said STEM education was important to fill the job needs of such an economy and should be introduced at the school level.

The implementation of e-commerce was still low, for example five per cent in Malaysia compared to 30 per cent in the United States and 20 per cent in China, he told Malaysian journalists at the end of the first day of the two-day US-ASEAN Leaders Summit here Monday (Tuesday in Malaysia).

“ASEAN has the opportunities to leapfrog its cognitive artificial intelligence development which use technology in enhancing its delivery system, for example in healthcare and natural disaster management,” he said.

The feedback on the matter was given by three giant IT bosses when they met ASEAN leaders at the US-ASEAN Leaders Summit here Monday (Tuesday in Malaysia). They are Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.

Najib said ASEAN leaders, in their discussions with them, found that ASEAN needed to develop a set of skills towards achieving the targets.

The region also needed to develop start-up technology so that companies could utilise the technology without having to come up with big expenditure, he said.

However, the experts cautioned that displacement of jobs could result from the change of technology, and so reskilling of workers potentially to be displaced had to be carried out, said Najib.

During the ASEAN leaders’ discussion with US President Barack Obama at the summit, Najib said he highlighted ASEAN’s need to identify factors contributing to the development of the Silicon Valley, the world’s top IT development area.

He said ASEAN needed venture capital as well as stimulation by academicians just like how academicians from Stanford University stimulated IT development in the Silicon Valley.



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