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Malaysian technology: a double-edged sword

Written by David Pingree

According to a new survey, a large number of Malaysians believe that their current jobs will become obsolete as new technologies are introduced in the near future.

The survey, which was conducted by the Q2 Randstad Workmonitor, reported that 42% of Malaysian employees expect to lose their jobs to new technologies, making Malaysia the least confident nation in ASEAN in terms of job confidence behind India.

The report also stated that 88% of employees said that they would change jobs in order to make money, despite the 79% of Malaysians who said that their job was a perfect match based on their skills and training. Overall, 84% of workers noted that technology had made a significant impact on their jobs, the Malaysian Digest Reported.

However, new technologies can also create job opportunities, as new technologies will require more IT workers, programmers and software developers, Jasmin Kaur, director of Randstad Malaysia, told Free Malaysia Today.

“There is a misconception that technology will eventually wipe out the workforce, rendering employees irrelevant and replaced by computers,” said Kaur. “While this is true of some roles in certain industries, in many cases technological advances are just changing the nature of jobs and the skills required to fulfill them.”

Kaur also said that employees should closely watch economic trends and focus on careers that technology cannot replace, such as creative industries and jobs requiring manual dexterity.

Furthermore, the Malaysian government views new technologies as the primary means in which to make Malaysia a high-income country by 2020.

To overcome the middle-income trap, whereby developing nations lose their comparative advantage with cheap labor while continuing to lack adequate skills and infrastructure, the Malaysian government has launched its Information, Communications and Technology Development Initiative, the Guardian reported.

By working with international universities and attracting foreign investors, Malaysia hopes that a stronger ICT sector will raise the livelihood of the country’s bottom 40%, which only accounts for 15% of the total household income. The plan appears feasible in theory, as technology jobs have salaries that are 90% higher than average.

In addition, the government is working to improve roads, expand electricity access, increase the number of mobile clinic and construct more affordable housing for the nation’s poorest regions.

Malaysian Debt Ventures Bhd. announced last month that it would allocate MYR 1.45 billion in financing for technology sectors this year. So far, MDV has distributed MYR 7 billion to more than 600 start-ups, signing off on 70% of SME start-ups, according to the Malaysian Insider.

“Malaysia will definitely reach the target,” Lawrence Sáez of the School of Oriental and African Studies told The Guardian last year, “but it is not likely to move above and beyond its competitors for a long time once it has reached this stage. I wouldn’t sell the Malaysian dream but I would say the targets are credible.”

USD 1.00 = MYR 3.23 (XE.com 2014-06-25 04:01 UTC)

–Edited by Kristine Diaz

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