PETALING JAYA, Oct 15 -- There is a need for Malaysian businesses to change their business strategy to remain competitive, including focusing more on research and development (R&D), said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He noted that sometimes they are too operation oriented in delivering results and too conservative to diversify their businesses and develop their product.
"This kind of business mentality and culture has to change. Malaysian businesses need to start seriously in investing much more in R&D to increase and upgrade their products and service development, business processes and integrated technologies.
"We need to change our strategy from being technology traders and users to becoming technology creators," said Dr Mahathir when officiating the International Conference on Industry 4.0: A Global Revolution Towards Business, Technology and Productivity or MYINDUSTRIES 2019 here Monday.
Industry 4.0 refers to a new phase in the Industrial Revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data.
Dr Mahathir stressed that Industry 4.0 will transform the labour market into a skill-centric work environment with the consolidation of operation technology and information technology, data analytics, process understanding, and the ability to work with disruptive technologies.
"Technologies such as the Internet of Things, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing are contributing factors to generate an increase in net productivity," he said.
The Prime Minister noted that the national policy on Industry 4.0 or Industry4WRD launched a year ago was Malaysia's response to Industry 4.0 and beyond.
"With the policy in place, we aim to drive Malaysia towards becoming the Industry 4.0 hub in Southeast Asia - an opportunity for us to regain our status as an Asian Tiger," said Dr Mahathir.
He said Industry 4.0 transformation has to be taken seriously for Malaysia to remain competitive and relevant in the international equation.
Dr Mahathir also said that the Malaysian education system is currently being tweak to fulfil the needs of the nation’s economy, with the focus on the teaching of industrial skills.
Graduates from tertiary educational institutions, he said, should be able to meet the demands of the employment market.
"There is a need to transform our human capital, both the existing workforce and students, with new skills, innovative thinking and multi-disciplinary knowledge," he said, adding that local universities need to start focusing on developing their R&D capabilities.
This, he said, will provide a strong value proposition for the industries.
"There must also be more research done on transforming the SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) towards technology-driven businesses. We need more customised technologies to suit the Malaysian industries and Industry 4.0 could be a new beginning for local technology developers and researchers," he said.