Archive for the ‘Industry 4.0’ Category

CM: Govt to ensure Sabah well-equipped for Industry 4.0

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government will continue to provide a strong economic foundation to ensure the State is well-equipped for Industry 4.0, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“We are in exciting times as we accelerate into the digital economy, with amazing new technologies having the potential to transform our lives and entire industries,”

He said this in his speech read by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Jaujan Sambakong during the Access Agreement Exchange event between Maxis and Celcom Timur (Sabah) Sdn Bhd (CT Sabah), at Magellan Sutera, here, Tuesday.

The agreement exchange signifies partnership between Maxis and CT Sabah to provide greater fibre connectivity through the provision of High Speed Broadband (HSBB) Network Services.

With the collaboration, Maxis will have full access to CT Sabah’s fibre optic network, which enables the roll out of affordable broadband plans to more Sabah homes and businesses.

Sabahans in areas with CT Sabah’s fibre optic infrastructure will be able to enjoy its fibre plans starting November 1.

In line with Industry 4.0, Shafie said the collaboration has the potential to open up new frontiers in innovation.

“There will be opportunities for new initiatives to ensure key sectors are transformed positively by technology and high speed connectivity.

“It will foster the development of new industries and create more job opportunities, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life of the people of Sabah, he said.

He said with the widening access to broadband connectivity, more consumers and businesses would be able to leverage the Internet to create better opportunities which can in turn help accelerate the growth of Sabah’s digital economy.

“Similarly, ensuring wide broadband connectivity to the remote parts of Sabah must not be neglected if we want to narrow the digital divide between the urban and rural areas in Sabah.

“It (the collaboration) is timely and very much needed as we forge ahead to realise new opportunities for Sabah,” he said, adding that a robust ICT infrastructure is the backbone for the future of high speed internet connectivity.

He said the collaboration between service providers is important for the successful implementation of the recently announced National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP), which focuses on implementing policies and projects that will improve the speed, and reduce the costs of infrastructure deployment at state level.

Maxis Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gokhan Ogut said the partnership with CT Sabah is another significant step towards its converged ambitions to become a mobile and fixed LAN solutions operator.

“We’re not only investing in fibres as well as mobile, we are also doing partnerships and seeking access to existing fibres in the country,” he said.

In another development, Gokhan told reporters during a press conference that Maxis is unable to provide a specific date as to when its 5G network will be launched as of now.

Recently, Maxis reportedly signed an agreement with Huawei Technologies Malaysia on the provisioning of 5G network service.

“It depends on the spectrum allocation which the Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commissions (MCMC) will decide, there is a taskforce that started its work over a year ago, on 5G.

By: Anthea Peter.

Are our students ready for the IR4.0 workplace?

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019
Students should take the initiative to take short courses to get additional certifications relevant to the IR4.0 workplace.

INDUSTRIAL Revolution (IR) 4.0 is characterised by advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented/virtual reality, big data and analytics, and the Internet of Things.

These technology advancements, when adapted in the workplace, are enabling new ways to execute work, bringing new opportunities for value creation to businesses and organisations — paving the way for the formation of digital ecosystems and collaborations as well as engagement with consumers at a greater scale.

In terms of readiness for the IR4.0 workplace, do students or would-be graduates in Malaysia understand the concept of IR4.0 and its impact on their future careers, and are they prepared for the ever-evolving digital workplace?

These are the questions that sought to be answered in a study commissioned by INTI International University & Colleges (INTI) and International Data Corporation (IDC) on Graduate Readiness for the IR4.0 workplace.

Tan Lin Nah

Involving 560 respondents comprising students, graduates and parents, the survey aimed to uncover if talents were ready to be part of a digitally-evolving workforce.

Among the key findings of the study were that students, graduates and parents lack clarity on IR4.0; students feel unprepared to join the IR4.0 workforce; and that tertiary education may not be doing enough to prepare students for the workplace.

According to Tan Lin Nah, acting chief executive officer of INTI International University & Colleges, despite the increase of IR4.0 initiatives by the government and industry, more than half of the students and graduates responding, respectively, were unable to articulate what IR4.0 entails.

Likewise, more than half of the parents surveyed lacked the ability to discuss IR4.0 and why it is relevant to organisational transformation.

“While emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is on the rise, students are unable to articulate or envision how their choice of education and careers today may be impacted by digital change,” said Tan.

She said most students have not gained exposure to IR4.0 and may be too reliant on only their academic programmes to make them job-ready.

“Universities must evaluate and assess how well their current programmes provide training and real-world insights to graduates entering the workplace, and what they need to do to scale up beyond theoretical and academic teaching.

“Students must be socially competent, adaptive competent, digital competent and must have a high level of personal competence.” Emeritus Professor Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim UiTM vice-chancellor

“Beyond technical skills, universities also have a crucial role to play in ensuring soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership skills and lifelong learning are integrated across all programmes, so that graduates can cope with rapid changes in the industry and take charge of their own learning,” said Tan, adding that in reality, it takes years for programme syllabi to be updated at university and to keep track on what is current and changing within the industry.

She also noted that not many students took the initiative to take courses to get additional certifications relevant to the IR4.0 workplace, citing time constraints and a lack of value as their reasons.

While students and parents believe employers are looking to younger talents as technologically-savvy employees who will help them in their digital transformation, graduate respondents paint a different picture that there are organisations unwilling to adopt a new generation of talent, stating legacy issues and an unwillingness to adopt new processes as the key challenges faced in the workplace — pointing to a mismatch of expectations from graduates and the reality in the industry.

Elisabeth Stene


Tan said INTI has begun the process to equip future talents for the rapidly evolving technological workplace through innovative teaching and learning, and in developing strong industry partnerships with over 450 industry partners.

“Our initiatives will provide students with the experience and readiness for them to be integrated into the workforce, such as real-world employer projects, industry advisory boards, workshops, boot camps, industry-led competitions, short courses and internships where graduates would have gained some experience and insights on how to deal with current challenges when they enter the workforce. Some of the high-tech industry partners that we currently work with on these initiatives include IBM, Google, Alibaba GET, Dell and Glodon,” she said.

In addition to current initiatives, INTI offers Design Thinking as part of the required Mata Pelajaran Umum module across all bachelor’s degree programmes.

This module teaches students to analyse and develop solutions to real-life challenges, to achieve the best outcomes in an innovative and efficient manner.

“Through this module, students work closely with industry, gain exposure to current social issues, and develop their skills in research, presentation, teamwork and the ability to view challenges critically. The programme also empowers students to be socially-conscious while preparing for careers in a digitally-driven world,” Tan said.

INTI also continues to organise its Industry Advisory Boards, where members of faculty and industry meet to evaluate curriculum and the inclusion of industry trends in learning.

“These measures are part of acknowledging that education must change to meet the needs of a new digital era and through this, INTI continues to prepare future talents to be part of the IR4.0 workforce,” Tan remarked.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), meanwhile, has been responsive and actively embarking on IR4.0 related initiatives for the past three years, starting from a campus-wide campaign and awareness drive in 2016.

Feon Ang

The university has 13 Data Analytics Labs on various campuses for data camp training programmes that are open to students from all faculties as well as 21 Smart Classrooms that support the design and implementation of Active, Relevant, Interactive and Fun learning (ARIF).

Early this year, the university launched the Pioneering University Framework of UiTM to put forward the provision of High End TVET programmes where UiTM is to introduce emerging technology competencies in the diploma, degree and professional programmes such as Enabling Technologies for Industry 4.0 Revolution as stipulated by the National Policy on Industry 4.0 (Industry4WRD).

Its vice-chancellor, Emeritus Professor Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim, said: “This means that in general, an intuitive approach is taken in designing and developing a fluid, dynamic and organic curriculum”.

“Students are prepared to face the changing world, to be able to use their existing skills and quickly learn new ones to be participating members of society. Other than the 21st century competencies, students must be socially competent, adaptive competent, digital competent and must have a high level of personal competence,” he said.

To have these, the curriculum is built to be both industry and community relevant, with future proof content offered through multidisciplinary electives and academic programmes.

Most programmes have been revised to embed data analytics and/or any of the nine IR4.0 technological advances such as autonomous robots, simulation, system Integration, IoT, cybersecurity, cloud, augmented reality (AR), and additive manufacturing.

As an example, the undergraduate degree programmes at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering are built on flexible and organic curriculum where the students are exposed to special topics like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics.

Elective and non-credit courses are offered across faculties, cross campuses and via multimodal delivery, with the intention of creating a more holistic approach in nurturing students. Such learning materials are provided online to enable easy access and to encourage collaboration with a diverse group of learners.

In 2018, UITM successfully launched Urban intelligenT Mobile Autonomous Vehicle (UiTM-AV), a R&D initiative geared towards emerging technologies.

“To date, there are more than 500 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) developed and completed in UiTM. By 2021, it is expected that there will be a proliferation of MOOCs and micro learning courses that will allow students to have a learning buffet, with a spread of courses that can be taken out of interest or for further certification in related fields.

“Credit transfer from courses taken from other universities or providers will be instituted to cater for the growing spirit of ubiquitous and distributed learning,” said Mohd Azraai.

He also highlighted that as part of UiTM’s provision of IR4.0, research and development has been and continues to be geared towards emerging technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

The university has also drawn up an initiative branded as Education 5.0@UiTM that responds to IR4.0 while emphasising the humanistic part of education.

Education 5.0 is defined as a learning-centric ecosystem that is sustainable, balanced and principled, driven by values, powered by intellect and afforded by new, ubiquitous technologies.

UiTM deputy vice-chancellor (Academic and International) Professor Dr Mohamad Kamal Haron said the initiative focuses on placing the ownership of learning on learners. Nevertheless, he added, the approach emphasises instilling values and principles through less-prescriptive learning.

“Learning is also seamless and learning can happen anywhere, anytime, from any device, with and from anyone, and through any path. Thus learning experience can be designed to be diverse and of variety,” he said.


According to Digi chief human resource officer Elisabeth Stene, an IR4.0 workplace is one where employees are empowered to respond quickly to customers, conduct business responsibly and adopt technology to fuel business and work efficiency.

“This is supplemented by dynamic leaders, agile way of work, a strong emphasis on collaboration and a culture where learning is a permanent state to stay relevant. We believe that this is the foundation required for companies to go through disruption and transformation,” she said.

How far has IR4.0 been adapted in the workplace and is the IR4.0 workplace already in existence in Malaysia today?

Stene said the IR4.0 workplace is no longer a new concept as it’s been around for the past three to four years.

Many organisations in the region have indeed adapted and transformed themselves into an IR4.0 workplace, and Digi is one of them.

“We’ve digitalised our core operations and ensured that our people embraced the change well. For such a large-scale transformation, it is crucial to foster the right mindset and culture across the organisation.

“From the onset, we instilled in our people the right mindset — that digital transformation is not just an IT project but a company-wide agenda, sponsored by the entire senior leadership — and the right values that drove a change in our culture.

“I’m pleased to say that we are now reaping the benefits from our digital transformation that enabled Digi to be an IR4.0 workplace today,” said Stene.

Feon Ang, vice president of Talent and Learning Solutions, Asia-Pacific at LinkedIn, meanwhile, observed that both traditional and tech industries are adopting new technologies such as AI and automation to improve operations, introduce new products and services, and provide a better experience for their customers.

“While employers are looking for talent with hard skills in these technologies, it’s soft skills that continue to be important across jobs and industries. Investing in the right talents who have both skill sets is what’s important for the company,” she said


Stene noted it is encouraging that most universities in Malaysia have already started ensuring that their curricula is integrated with subjects that are relevant in preparing students for the IR4.0 workplace.

“Higher education institutes should balance theory with practical experience — encourage internships, experiential learning and develop curriculum via partnerships with corporates.

“In return, corporates too should be open and provide opportunities for students to experience the challenges and change their way of working due to Industry 4.0 as these students are the future workforce,” she said.

Ang, meanwhile, opined that the most important thing is to encourage everyone to have a growth mindset — especially when they have completed their schooling.

“Learning doesn’t stop at schools. In fact, in schools, we are learning how to learn, as well as understanding and finding our paths. With this, it also takes commitment by the broader ecosystem — from government, companies and education institutions — to help bring this to fruition.

“From a skills perspective, it will be challenging to adapt curriculum solely to cope with hard skills changes. If there’s one thing we’d suggest, the biggest skills gap is soft skills. From leadership, creativity to problem-solving, these are skills that will last for life,” she said.

From the higher education point of view, Tan said being the main provider of competencies needed by graduates for IR4.0, universities must re-evaluate their current offerings.

“Among the skills needed to thrive in IR4.0 are the mastery of key IT skills to enable students to enhance their career prospects.

“For example, a business student should learn how to maximise e-commerce as most business platforms are currently leveraging on the many benefits and success of the e-commerce scene.

“Quantity surveying students should learn how to use building information modelling (BIM) software as most building and construction firms use BIM to improve productivity, promote better collaboration and communication and mitigate risks,” she elaborated.

There should be greater collaboration between higher education and industry partners to enhance curriculum and ensure its relevance to current market demands.

“When students learn current trends in the industry by participating in employer projects, industry-led competitions or internships, they pick up essential skills and knowledge to help them in their future careers.

“Students should also focus on the development of personal skill sets alongside academic excellence. The development of personal skills sets such as teamwork, adaptability to change, ability to communicate effectively and having a mindset for lifelong learning are the competencies that will enable students to remain relevant, regardless of the roles or industries they enter,” she said.

Teaching English goes future forward

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Dr Airil Haimi (lefft, seated on the desk) with the VR goggles on his head together with several of his team members who have been trying to bring innovative practices into English teaching, using modern media platforms.

MUCH has been said about the Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR but much more needs to be done on the ground, especially in the field of education in the Malaysian setting.

Many are still unable to see that the very nature of the teaching and learning process is changing, what more with the arrival of Generation Alpha – the next generation of students born entirely within the 21st century.

To complicate things further as we cross into the era of 4IR, the field of education has also moved into the Education 5.0 stage. As the world prepares to usher in year 2020, our national education system must address the challenges of globalisation and deal with changes in computer and telecommunications technologies sparked by 4IR ‘disruptions’.

At the Academy of Language Studies of the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Perak branch in Bandar Seri Iskandar, its head of Centre of Studies decided to become an adopter of a not-so-new technology, hoping to take the teaching and learning of English into the 21st century.

“The name of our project is ‘English Language Simulations Augmented with 360° spherical videos’. We codenamed it ELSA 360°-Videos, because it’s cuter,” said Dr Airil Haimi Mohd Adnan, the learning technologist and project manager.

Together with his young team of English lecturers – Muhamad Khairul, Muhammad Anwar, Nurul Nadiah and Ahmad Ariffuddin – they have been hard at work trying to bring innovative practices into English teaching, using modern media platforms.

“The problem is that you need money to be an early adopter of learning technologies, and you need to constantly reskill and upskill yourself because what is high-end today might be old-tech next month or next year,” said Airil Haimi.

The primary challenge that he faces is the limited time to teach critical language skills to degree level students, who also need to contend with their specialist core subjects.

“So, when 360° video cameras became more mainstream and not too expensive, I saved for a few months to buy one online and to start the ELSA 360°-Videos project,” he added.

Nevertheless, applying 360° or spherical video technology to the teaching of English for Professional and Workplace Interactions was not as straightforward as he thought. It took him six months of learning about 360° video technology and the methods of using this effectively in lesson delivery.

“You don’t want to do something just for the sake of doing it, right? But I’m happy to report that many educators have shared positive results on using 360° videos to teach.

“Here on campus, our undergraduates love being immersed and having the feeling of ‘being in’ actual meeting rooms and ‘joining in’ simulated workplace discussions,” he said.

360° or spherical video technology has the distinctive advantage of immersing learners and helping them to feel as if they are actually part of whatever is happening on screen. With three DOFs or Degrees of Freedom, learners can look around the meeting room or office space and see everything that is happening around them.

For degree level students who have limited contact hours to learn English for Professional and Workplace Interactions, this technology bridges the gap between what they could only imagine, and what they can actually see and feel.

With three DOFs, seeing how office mates talk to each other, respond, reciprocate and share ideas while focusing also on their facial and bodily gestures really make a difference in the learning of difficult English skills.

Nur Alia, appreciates the fact that 360° videos technology can help her friends who are not proficient in English to revise and learn on their own.

“My friends who cannot grasp the points in class, can learn while lounging on their beds and raise their English levels on their own,” she said.

For Nurul Liyana, another early user of ELSA 360°-Videos: “I love that I can learn wherever and whenever because the lecturer posted all the 360° videos on YouTube. “So, when we go to class, we just practice a bit then we can do the tests.”

In the next stage of the ELSA 360°-Videos project, Airil and his team are trying to get students to invest in cheap Virtual Reality or VR goggles using their smartphones to power the VR screens.

He is also planning to set up a content development lab focusing on future learning technologies aptly called “Future Learning Initiatives” Lab or FLI Lab.

“When it comes to technology, the problem is always money. True, great teaching ideas don’t need money but to make those ideas real, then dreamers like us have to start saving money to gain access to future learning technologies.

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AI-based platform to match students to digital tech courses launching soon

Friday, September 13th, 2019

The Digital Tech Tertiary Matching Platform will be made available to the public during the #mydigitalmaker Fair 2019 which will be held on Sept 14 and 15 at Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur. – Pic source: Facebook/MyMDEC
By New Straits Times - September 13, 2019 @ 6:48pm

With the advent of the 4th Industrial revolution and growing adoption of digital technologies across all sectors, there is a growing demand for digital tech jobs.

However, there is a lack of awareness among students on digital tech careers, and quality digital tech tertiary courses available.

To scale this awareness and to empower parents and students to make more well-informed decisions about which tertiary education pathways to take – in not just the digital tech industries but across many other sectors too, the Malaysian Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) is joining forces with Genesis Data Asia Sdn Bhd to launch an AI (artificial intelligence)-based platform which will profile and match students to in-demand tertiary-level digital tech courses and scholarships.

Happening this weekend, the Digital Tech Tertiary Matching Platform will be made available to the public during the #mydigitalmaker Fair 2019 which will be held on Sept 14 and 15 at Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur.

“Many students lack information about which digital tech tertiary courses and education funds they qualify for, and which universities have industry-relevant courses with high employment rates. The only way to find out at the moment is for parents and students to spend hours researching each individual university.

“With this AI-based platform, students will receive personalised guidance on recommended pre-University or University level courses and scholarships in just minutes, thus simplifying and speeding up their decision-making process,” said Dr. Sumitra Nair, vice president of Tech Talent, MDEC.

By entering their academic results into the platform, students will receive personalised recommendations to guide their applications to universities and scholarship providers. Students will also be guided on subjects they need to improve should they wish to target specific digital tech courses offered by Premier Digital Tech Institutions (PDTI). PDTIs are universities and polytechnics that have proven track records in high graduate employability, industry engagement and career services.

“This platform will empower students to make better decisions about their tertiary education, and help school counselors to play a more prominent role to promote tech tertiary courses and prepare students for their tertiary pathways that lead to high-value digital tech careers.

By New Straits Times.

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Sabah Govt strives to embrace IR 4.0 to ensure jobs for graduates – Jenifer

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Jenifer (ninth from right), Roselyn (ninth from left) and Jess (eighth from right) with INTI staff, guests and industry partners at the Youth Beyond Academic public showcase.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah State Government is striving to embrace Industrial Revolution 4.0 while ensuring graduates in the state continue to gain meaningful employment.

“We recognise the importance of being involved in IR 4.0 and I am thrilled to witness that the students here today are equipped with the skillsets needed for the future.

“This showcase is a worthy example of how higher education institutions should embrace, adapt, lead and prepare our future graduates for the shifting employment landscape,” said Assistant Minister of Education and Innovation and honorary guest of the showcase, Jenifer Lasimbang, when delivering her at INTI College Sabah’s (INTI) second “Youth Beyond Academic” public showcase at  Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, here yesterday.

Some of the projects featured at the showcase included the “Kinabalu Pink Ribbon Run”, where students fundraised RM8,000 to improve the lives of breast cancer patients; the “Power of Ten” that saw students successfully raising RM3,200 to build a new wing in Hospital Keningau’s Dialysis Center; “Are you Responsible? Old Tyre and Used

Battery” which saw students recycling tyre straps and water to generate electricity, and “Unite for Vision” a fundraising event organized by INTI students that saw RM3,000 raised for the Sabah Society for the Blind.

The public showcase featured eight projects focusing on social consciousness and real industry problems to demonstrate the skillsets of its students in an advancing Industrial Revolution 4.0 world.

The showcase was organised for members of the public, high school students, INTI’s industry partners and parents alike.

Earlier, the showcase kicked off with an opening speech by Roselyn Chua, Chief Executive of INTI College Sabah, who shared the significance of the event to her audience.

“As we move into a world which increasingly relies on smart machines and systems, cloud computing and the internet of things, the skillsets that require enhancing for the future workforce are personal skills,” shared Roselyn.

“While skillsets such as knowledge about ICT, technical know-how and the ability to work with data are important, personal skills such as emotional intelligence, complex problem solving, coordinating with others, and creativity will take the forefront as we tackle issues such as climate change, cancer and non-communicable diseases,” said Roselyn.

“These skills are pertinent for our future graduates as they go out into the workforce because they cannot be emulated by machines. It is these skills that will make our future graduates relevant in the future workforce and our projects here today are demonstrative of our students’ abilities in honing these skillsets successfully,” she said.

Jenifer, who was also given a tour around the showcase, expressed her appreciation for being a part of the event and shared that it was crucial for all higher education institutions in Sabah to follow suit and initiate a similar curriculum for their students.

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MARii to launch pilot Youth Forward programme for form 4-5 students

Friday, September 6th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute’s (MARii) will launch its pilot Youth Forward programme for secondary school students from form four to five in the next two weeks.

The programme is the latest effort by MARii to produce human capital for the Industry Revolution 4.0.

For starters, 40 students from SM La Salle, Tanjung Aru; SMK Tansau, Putatan whilst the rest from Penampang – SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin; SMK Limbanak; SM St Michael; and SMK Bahang will attend the four-month programme.

MARii chief executive officer Dato’s Madani Sahari when announcing the programme at MARii Satellite Sabah premises on Tuesday said the programme was introduced as an alternative for students who are good in skills but not incline to academy.

“The students will attend the training sessions three times per week from 9am to 2pm. The training programme consists of 30 modules, including industry 4.0, public speaking, time management, safety in the home and vehicle, communication skills enhancement, financial management and other life skills and effective habits,” Madani said.

After the theoretical phases, the students will undergo five months of practical training in auto mechanic, electrical, gaming or coding programming and, among others, to gain exposure to real-work work environments, culture and work processes to prepare them to be absorbed into the industry, he said.

Upon completion of the trainings, the students will receive the Malaysian Skills Certificate. While attending the skills programme, the students would still attend their normal classes in the schools as they also need to prepare for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination, he said.

“The skills training programme is open for all students from form four to five with the conditions that they must get the approvals from their parents and the schools,” Madani said.


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Between Industry 2.0 and 3.0

Friday, September 6th, 2019

PENAMPANG: Sabah businesses are encouraged to participate and learn approaches in building the workforce to support the adoption of Industry 4.0.

There are good reasons why Singapore wants to host such events that used to be staged in industrial powerhouse Germany, the country that originated the IR4.0 trend.

A forum themed “Driving skill development for a future-ready workforce in Malaysia” was organised as part of the industry outreach activities for Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific 2019 – a Hannover Messe event to take place from Oct 22 to 24 in Singapore ( )

President of Industry 4.0 Malaysia Association Raja Teagarajan said:

“Malaysia is currently between the second and third industrial revolution, with the exception of its electrical and electronics, aerospace and automotive sectors that are more advanced in terms of Industry 4.0 adoption.”

Industry 4.0 is often perceived to involve mainly technology-driven change that will disrupt how organisations conduct operations and do business.

“However, there has been a shift whereby some manufacturers are ready to start their adoption of Industrial 4.0 processes and solutions, which will bring in high technology, innovative and high-value-add industries, and a highly skilled talent pool, which will eventually lead to the economic prosperity of the country,” said Teagarajan.

While adoption approaches may differ, a common perception is that Industry 4.0 involves wholesale top-down changes that businesses and industries will have to adjust to.

“It is therefore crucial that we work with government and industrial stakeholders to support companies in developing talents and skill sets for the future,” he said

Asean’s economic resilience bodes well for Malaysia’s projected broad-based growth this year, given the launch of the National Policy on Industry 4.0 to provide a concerted and comprehensive transformation agenda for the manufacturing sector and its related services.

The government’s commitment to private-sector-led growth has also helped improve business conditions, with foreign direct investment and manufacturing being the hot drivers of economic growth.

By: David Thien

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Industry 4.0: A new form of inequality?

Friday, July 26th, 2019
When most jobs, both physical and cognitive, are automated, when humans no longer decide for themselves what is right and good, what then, is the meaning of life?

IT seems much intellectual and public discourse in Malaysia today revolves around Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

While many aspects of Industry 4.0 have been debated, allow me to contribute a bit about this issue, by focusing on the possible effects of a new form of inequality in society.

The economic inequality — wealth and income — that is affecting Malaysian society today is a result of the past three Industrial Revolutions which started more than 150 years ago in England.

Now, the fourth wave of the revolution is here with us, hence Industry 4.0.

These new technologies will certainly impact all aspects of our lives.

Imagine being able to live forever. Google has already embarked on this project and is upbeat about its prospects. Google’s Ray Kurzweil believes that by 2029, humans could have a choice to be immortal, thanks to the nanotechnology revolution, where the creation of nano-bots makes it possible to augment our immune system and recognise diseases and deal with them before it is too late.

And mind you, this is not just about living longer, but also having all the health, youth and vitality of life. In other words, it is not just about life extension, but also life expansion.

Imagine the creation of all-powerful algorithms which will take care of all your wants and needs for the rest of your life, as ‘they’ know you much better than you know yourself.

No more dealing with the misery of making wrong decisions in life

From mundane matters like what movie to watch and what books to read, to important decisions such as what to study, which career to take and whom to marry, these algorithms will help you

‘They’ can also be your life companion. No more stress from relationship issues, since the algorithms will be programmed to be focused on you, your feelings and nothing else, one hundred per cent.

Imagine the application in the legal, financial and healthcare sectors.

Perhaps corruption can be easily weeded out with AI taking charge of making decisions in the public service sector.

And in the legal profession, imagine brain scans being used to reveal lies and deceptions!

In the financial sector, even today, most financial trading is managed by computer algorithms.

Why need humans when AI can process and analyse financial data in mere seconds?

Why learn about stocks or foreign exchange markets when AI can do that for you faster and with a higher level of accuracy?

And in the healthcare industry, algorithms will become your all-knowing health service, shielding you from critical illnesses, such as cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Remember IBM’s Watson? An AI which can diagnose diseases?

Imagine, the creation of IoT and its application in the education and security sectors.

Digital teachers not only impart knowledge, but in the process also understand you and know your personality better than you do

They will use a method which suits your personality to optimise teaching and learning.

So, having imagined all these as possible outcomes of Industry 4.0, would life not be great?

On the surface, perhaps yes. But I foresee, if we don’t take the necessary measures today, a major threat could emerge in the form of inequality.

Surely, only a small class of elites would benefit from this new technology, for instance, in terms of ‘upgrading’ humans to immortality.

Then what will happen to the rest of the population?

Wen most jobs, both physical and cognitive, are automated, when humans no longer decide for themselves what is right and good, what then, is the meaning of life?

By Dr Irwan Shah Zainal Abidin

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Improve writing, scholars told

Monday, July 8th, 2019

MORE needs to be done to improve the quality of Malaysia’s scholastic journals and articles.

Malaysian Scholarly Publication Council (Mapim) executive committee chairman Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Wahab Mohammad said some of the entries they received for this year’s National Book Awards did not even meet the minimum requirements.

“There are still some weaknesses that resulted in several nominations being rejected, especially in the Best Editing Work category,” he said during the Mapim-KPM 2018 Award Ceremony held recently.

However, he said there was an overall improvement in the quality of the publications that won this year and that most of the six categories had main prize winners.

Each category was divided into two fields, which are humanities’ social science and medical technology science.

There are three prizes for each category – main award, appreciation award and the appreciation prize.

Award winners at the 12th award ceremony received a cash prize, a trophy and a certificate each.

At the event, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said the number of scientific papers being published in Malaysia was still low.

She added that the government aims to have 31,700 titles being published annually by 2020, compared to the 19,713 published in 2017.

“I would like to call on scholars to continue to work and publish scientific books covering various humanities’ social science and medical technology science topics,” she said.

She added that scholars should also explore writing about new fields such as Industrial Revolutions 4.0 and 5.0.

By Rebecca Rajaendram
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More industry contribution to research and innovation needed

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019
By Abdul Wahab Mohammad - July 3, 2019 @ 12:49pm

RESEARCH and innovation (R&I) can drive the economic growth of a country. The best example is probably the Republic of Korea.

In the 1950s, Korea’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was less than Malaysia, but over the last 50 years, it has increased by more than 117 times compared to our country’s GDP which has increased by approximately 15 times only.

As a result, the GDP of Korea now far exceeds Malaysia and the former is now considered an advanced and developed country.

Thirty years ago, it was quite rare to hear the names of Samsung, LG and Hyundai but today these companies are the giants in producing various types of products which generate strong growth for the corporations and thus indirectly for the nation.

During my last visit to Korea several years ago, I was told that Samsung has more than 1,500 personnel with doctoral degrees working for it. They carry out applied and innovative research directly beneficial for Samsung products.

Data on R&I spending provided by Unesco (…) clearly illustrates the need for more involvement of Malaysian companies in R&I activities. The data, as displayed in Table 1, shows overall R&I spending as measured by the percentage of GDP for the top 15 countries in the world. In addition, data for China, Malaysia and Thailand is included for comparison. The spending data is broken down further into contributions by the industry, government and universities.

The data clearly shows that the percentage of R&I spending in Malaysia is only about 1.3 per cent of the GDP as opposed to Korea (number one ranking), which is about 4.3 per cent.

However, the more important fact is shown by the ratio of industry contribution as opposed to government and university contribution. In Korea, the ratio is 3.86 which means that the industry contribution is 3.86 times higher than that from government and universities. However, for Malaysia, the ratio is only 0.84 which means that in Malaysia, government and universities contribute more to R&I expenditure.

Data for the top 15 countries also shows the same trends whereby the industries contribute more to R&I spending compared to government and universities. Industries should be the sector that can really drive commercialisation of R&I to produce innovative products that can compete in the open market.

It is interesting to note that China, even though it is not listed as the Top 15 nations, spends a huge amount of money on R&I and industry involvement is much higher (ratio of 3.40 which is almost the same as Korea). Even in Thailand, which has lower R&I spending compared to Malaysia, the ratio of industry contribution is 1.20 which is higher than Malaysia. Figure 1 clearly shows that only Malaysia has a ratio of below 1.0.

Therefore, it is timely that the R&I ecosystem in Malaysia shifts towards more active involvement by the Malaysian industries. The Malaysian government has provided various incentives to the industries to encourage more impactful R&I activities to be carried out. For example, offer tax incentives or double tax cut for contribution to R&I funding.

The Education Ministry and the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Environment and Climate Change have also allocated a huge amount of money for R&I by encouraging research collaboration between universities and industries. Industries are encouraged to provide matching funds for these partnerships. However, the take-up by industries is rather low, may be because R&I activities are not viewed as a strategic sector by the companies.

Public and private universities in Malaysia are always looking forward to provide the cooperation to enhance R&I between universities and industries. There are a significant number of doctoral degree holders in universities now who are keen to work on R&I that will benefit the country. These academics have also nurtured thousands of graduates at the master’s and doctoral levels who have specific expertise in their own fields.

These graduates are looking for employment opportunities in R&I so that they can use their expertise to generate new and creative ideas that can contribute towards higher economic growth for the companies and the country.

Therefore, it is highly imperative that the industries now should respond to make R&I as one of the important sectors for strategic growth of the companies.

Companies should at least set up research units/divisions that will look into the development of innovative ideas that can help increase their revenue. These units/divisions can work with the universities to enhance the R&I partnership. Even though the immediate returns for the company may not be obvious in the short term, the R&I unit/division should be seen as a sustainable strategic measure to sustain the business in the long run by researching creative ideas that can be explored further.

The success of Korean companies should be the right model to show how R&I has helped to enhance the profitability of companies in the long run. As for the universities, we are always open to any ideas on R&I collaboration with industries so that universities and industries can work together to help Malaysia become an advanced country like Korea. This is not just a dream but this is something that can be successful, provided both parties are willing to work together towards common goals.

By Abdul Wahab Mohammad

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