Is Malaysia ready for Industrial Revolution 4.0?

By Sharifah Sakinah | Last modified 17 May 2019
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Before we start, let’s talk a little about what is Industry 4.0. In short, there are 9 pillars of Industry 4.0, which are Autonomous Robots, Simulation, System Integration, Internet of Things(IoT), Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, Additive Manufacturing, Augmented Reality (AR) and Big Data. These are the pillars of Industry 4.0 that are going to be the trend in the industry for the next few years or even longer. 

We're living in the era of technology and our country is following the trend by starting to integrate the use of technology in our lives by many ways including introducing the use of cashless payment. 

No doubt, the initiatives of transforming Malaysia into a cashless society show that Malaysia is starting to follow the trend of Industry 4.0, but how prepared is Malaysia? 

There are countless types of e-wallet emerging such as GrabPay, FavePay, TnG E-Wallet, RazorPay... (and the list goes on and on you name it) and these companies are always having different campaigns and promotions to attract more users. 

Regular e-wallet users might find cashless transaction really convenient as transactions can be done in seconds and there is no hassle in the process but there are some who don’t see it that way. 

Despite of the convenience of e-wallet and the attractive promotions offered by these e-wallet companies, some Malaysians still stick to the traditional way of carrying out transaction by paying cash. 

The biggest reason that stops them from using e-wallet is security: how secure is e-wallet and to what extent can we trust them?
The security of e-wallet and cashless transaction has been the biggest issue that is concerning Malaysia’s consumer. As most e-wallet needs to be topped-up by using a debit/credit card or by online banking, users need to enter their card or online banking credentials. 

Many Malaysians still hesitate to do so as they are worried about the credibility of the e-wallet companies and how well these companies can keep their private information protected confidentially. 

Malaysians show increasing worries as news of banking accounts being hacked keep appearing in the headlines. It has been reported that there are a number of cases which the account holder is unaware of the transactions performed through their online banking account and they are not informed until the damage is done. 

This shows that the major reason that consumers are skeptical in using cashless transaction is the security of e-wallet or any other kind of cashless transaction as they would not want to bear the risk of suffering a monetary loss. 

Next, Malaysia is not technically ready for Industry 4.0 yet. Look at the pillars of Industry 4.0, Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud Computing… which of these pillars doesn’t require a high speed connection? 

The answer is almost none as these technologies require internet with a fairly decent connection speed to make things work. The average internet connection speed in Malaysia is 13.3 megabits per second, which is the 8th country with the fastest internet connection in Asia.

Compared to our neighbour country Thailand that has an average connection speed of 17.06 megabits per second and Singapore which topped the rank with a lightning speed of 60.39 megabits per second, Malaysia shows that there’s still plenty of room for improvement to catch up with the trend of Industry 4.0. 

Besides the average internet connection speed, the stability of the internet connection and its coverage are also issues that need to be solved as there are still some parts in Malaysia where the internet is not accessible. 

Yay or nay?

The introduction of Industry 4.0 has made some people feel threatened and they are not ready to welcome the change as there are concerns about robots taking over human tasks as autonomous robot is one of the main pillars of Industry 4.0. 

Low-skilled manpower would be gradually replaced by robots in the coming years and this change in the industry has worried the labourers. On the other hand, new jobs will be created and highly-skilled manpower like artificial intelligence developer would be highly in demand in Industry 4.0. 

It is a problem that some people do not see it that way as they feel that the robots are replacing humans in the workplace and are unaware of the demand for highly-skilled talent in the industry. 

To suit the change, students need to be exposed to Industry 4.0 from primary level by teaching them some basics of coding and application development in school. These knowledges and skills will prepare them for Industry Revolution 4.0 later and caters to the job market. 

Back to the question: Is Malaysia ready?

From things which have mentioned above, it is clear that Malaysia is still not ready to get in the game as there are gaps in digital infrastructures and lack of awareness on the concept of Industry 4.0 and its benefits. 

To accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 in Malaysia, the government plays a crucial role. In response to the Industrial Revolution 4.0, the government has launched the Industry4WRD: National Policy on Industry 4.0 to drive digital transformation in various sectors in Malaysia and one of the initiatives is by developing the Knowledge Research for Science and Technology Excellence (KRSTE.my) and setting up an Industry Digitalisation Transformation Fund to encourage industries to utilise artificial intelligence. 

Last but not least, Malaysian should learn to embrace the benefits and opportunities that avail with Industrial Revolution 4.0 to accelerate adoption.

Malaysia is preparing to step into Industry 4.0 and it’s only a matter of time to really be in the game. For the time being, we might still be underprepared for the change but initiatives must be done to keep up with the revolution. 

It’s not only the government that must be prepared but the whole nation as well, let’s brace ourselves and expect what’s going to come with the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Posted on 17 May 2019
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