Malaysia’s future growth plans in ASEAN’s digital economy – MGBF


The Malaysia Global Business Forum (MGBF) will be hosting a roundtable on ‘Designing the Future of the Digital Economy‘ on 23 February 2023. It is the culmination of the first three MGBF Exclusive Roundtable Series titled ‘The Evolving Threat Matrix in the Digital Economy‘ held throughout 2022.

According to the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the digital economy is currently contributing 22.6 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), with a projected growth to 25.5 per cent by 2025. This level of contribution has made it imperative for the Malaysia Global Business Forum to bring together high-level speakers at the roundtable to explore ways to chart the way forward for Malaysia’s future of its digital economy.

Amongst the objectives of the upcoming MGBF roundtable is to position Malaysia in Southeast Asia’s digital economy, which was estimated to be valued at USD200 billion (RM853 billion) in gross merchandise value (GMV) at the end of last year. Malaysia is an investment destination for those expanding market share in the digital economy, which will further expand the trade and business opportunities emanating from Malaysia. The multilateral and bilateral trade agreements have set the tone for this to become a reality.

MGBF’s Founding Chairman, Nordin Abdullah, said, “Now is the opportunity to create a competitive edge through a business-led approach, empowered with the right policies and programmes implemented by the new administration. The recent pandemic was a catalyst for rapid digitisation. The data shows that trend has continued in Malaysia’s services sector. We will use the upcoming forum to release additional data via the ‘Digital Economy and Innovation Report 2023′.”

“With the rise of AI assistance such as ChatGPT, the future has been brought into our daily work lives. This is a natural evolution of the digital economy that not only needs to be managed, but understood in a way that drives productivity. This will be the only way that high-value jobs can be created and maintained in a future-facing economy,” continued Nordin.

According to the The 2023 Global Cybersecurity Outlook report, global geopolitical instability has helped to close the perception gap between business and cyber leaders’ views on the importance of cyber-risk management, with 91 per cent of all respondents believing that a far-reaching, catastrophic cyber event is at least somewhat likely in the next two years. Following from this, 43 per cent of organisational leaders think it is likely that in the next two years, a cyberattack will materially affect their own organisation, which means enterprises are devoting more resources to day-to-day defences than strategic investment.

Critical questions that will be confronted include how to effectively manage talents in the evolving global digital economy, how to cascade effective strategy and policy into actionable projects that drive digital resilience, the interconnectedness of strategy and policy, and how to recover from a cyber-social crisis that impacts reputation and share price, amongst others.

Murugason R. Thangaratnam, Chief Executive Officer of Novem CS Sdn Bhd – a key industry leader who wil be addressing the forum, said, “The direction is clear, Malaysia will expand its economy to become increasingly digital. As the contribution to GDP increases so too does the value of targets to cyber criminals. The stakes have never been higher for the corporate sector looking to build empires on digital, data or innovation.”

“Novem’s internal research has shown that corporations spend between 10 to 100 times more post cyber incident than what they would have spent if they had implemented a simple cyber-resilient infrastructure with the requisite human capital development. Organisations have to realise that they need to strike a balance to avoid being too tech centric, by taking a holistic approach in securing the people, processes and governance framework to remain cyber resilient,” continued Murugason.

The full-day event will delve into four strategic areas: ‘Addressing Cyber Threats to Develop an Investor-Friendly Country‘, ‘The Corporate Nexus and The Total Media Ecosystem‘, ‘Strategic Opportunities in the Data-Driven Digital Economy‘, and ‘The Digital Economy and Building an Equitable Future‘, while the keynote session will expand on the critical requirements of government strategy and future-facing policies for the digital economy.

MGBF was established to empower stakeholders at the intersection of international and Malaysian business. Through government relations, business intelligence, advocacy, media engagement, market research, networking, advisory and business matching, MGBF will continue to explore threats and opportunities with industry leaders and policy makers to ensure that Malaysia becomes a leader in the context of Asia.




The Malaysia Global Business Forum (MGBF)’s exclusive roundtable on ‘Security Concerns in Critical Value Chains’ was held in a hybrid setting yesterday at the Eastin Hotel Kuala Lumpur. The guest of honour was Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, former minister of Trade and Industry Malaysia. Her session, ‘Maintaining Strategic Interests in Critical Value Chains’, focused on the salient question – how do nations compete?

Also playing a key role was Yang Berhormat Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi, Chairman of BERNAMA, who has continued to champion the role of persons with disabilities (PWDs) within the context of economic recovery post-COVID-19. Her session on ‘Addressing Disruption in Supply Chains’ explored the use of technology that will empower individuals to become more productive and contribute in a more meaningful way to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Founding Chairman of the Malaysia Global Business Forum, Nordin Abdullah, said, “The threat matrix is fluid. Geopolitics and the cyber realm have become front-of-mind issues for CEOs looking to grow market share in a consistently disrupted global business environment.

“The strategic environment is dynamic and it has impacted the way countries and corporations must define sustainability and survivability. The pathway to sustainable profits, especially looking at the next five years, is about taking a position in a critical value chain. And to be the most relevant component in any given critical value chain. 

“The end goal must be the establishment of sovereign ecosystems based on trust. This trust must be found at all levels including the various suppliers within a supply chain.

Malaysia must be positioned in globally relevant critical value chains especially technology that leads to the overall electrification of the way we live, including electronic vehicles (EVs). Food security and components of the food supply chain remain critical to avoid inflation.

“At the domestic level, the Malaysia government continues to prioritise policies that ensure the people are shielded by the impacts of geopolitical disruptions. With the government continuing to invest in the digital-physical security equation, this bodes well for attracting the right type of investors. This is the opportunity for the country as it represents a solution to international business partners,” concluded Nordin.

Speakers at the event include Col. Ts. Sazali bin Sukardi, Senior Vice President, Strategic Research Division, CyberSecurity Malaysia; ACP Sarifudin Bin Mohd Salleh, Head of Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department, Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM); Francis Koh, Head of Career Development, Digital Nasional Berhad; M. Umapathy Sivan, Former CIO of Telekom and Chief Technology Officer of Novem CS Sdn Bhd; Rizal Kamaruzzaman, Deputy Chairman of Malaysia Global Business Forum and Executive Director of Tindakan Strategi Sdn Bhd; and Executive Chairman of Advanced Security Network, Murugason R. Thangaratnam. The fireside chat was moderated by Ahmad Khairol Shafizan Johari, Lead Editor/Forward Planning Editor of Astro Awani, while the panel session was moderated by Editor-at-Large for News Hub Asia, Ruzanna Muhammad.

MGBF was established to empower stakeholders at the intersection of international and Malaysian business. Through government relations, business intelligence, advocacy, media engagement, market research, networking, advisory and business matching, MGBF will continue to explore threats and opportunities with industry leaders and policy makers to ensure that Malaysia becomes a leader in the context of Asia.