Digitalization key to strengthening PH-Malaysia ties: envoy

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

September 5, 2023, 7:11 pm

MANILA— Digitalization will become a key component in the Philippine-Malaysia bilateral ties as the two countries mark 60 years of diplomatic relations and strive to further increase engagements in 2024, the Malaysian envoy in the Philippines said Tuesday.

During a forum in Makati City, Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Dato’ Malik Melvin Castelino said digitalization would be “the way of the future” in terms of public relations, education, business, banking, among other sectors.

As a regional leader in digital evolution, Castelino said Malaysia is committed to sharing its best practices and “development experiences” to the Philippines.

“It (digitalization) should be one of the key directions that (Malaysian) and the Philippine government should aim for as we synergize relations for the next 60 years to come,” he said.

In sharing Malaysia's success story on digital transformation, Gopi Ganesalingam, senior vice president of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), underscored that fast-tracking the digital adoption of the government, the people, and small businesses is vital in accelerating a country’s economic growth.

Malaysia’s digital economy — derived from the traditional economic activities that utilize digital technologies — has contributed 23.2 percent to the national gross domestic product.

By 2025, Ganesalingam said this figure is expected to rise up to 25.5 percent.

Meanwhile, he said the government would play a huge part in preparing its job market to become “digitally-savvy” as the rising need for digitalization also increases the risk of job insecurity.

“We cannot stop the digitalization the way it has begun. (In Malaysia), what the government has been doing is to reskill and upskill our talent,” he said.

“Jobs will change, jobs will go away, but what is important to realize is that new jobs will come in, very high-end jobs will come in,” he added.

During his visit to Malaysia in July, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim agreed to boost interaction and work on agreements in various areas of cooperation, specifically the digital economy to increase trade and investment.

Multilaterally, the Philippines and Malaysia along with the rest of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also seek to transform the region into a leading digital community powered by secure and transformative digital services, technologies and ecosystem. (PNA)