Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

INTRODUCTION

If an organisation has a competitive advantage over its competitors, it will maintain their returns and will definitely surpass the average in its industry. This advantage is in result from the characteristics of a product that make it superior to competitive products (Multidisciplinary European Research Institute Graz, 2009). This competitive advantage can be applied in an Information Technology applications usage in the many industries here in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, we are gearing up for Transformasi Nasional 2050 (2050 National Transformation) or TN50 (Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam, 2018), a new 30-year transformation plan which general aim is for our country to become a top 20 country in the world by the year 2050. We will also be covering the challenges and the future direction in the context of IT for these industries especially in achieving TN50 and describing the use of technology application in Malaysia.

There are many industries that are utilising the applications of information technology and computing in Malaysia. For example in education, manufacturing, small medium enterprise (SME), banking, transportation, telecommunication and broadcasting. Here we will only be discussing three (3) of the main industries, they are:

  1. Education
  2. Banking
  3. Telecomunication.  

ICT IN EDUCATION

Education in Malaysia is overseen by the Ministry of Education (Kementerian Pendidikan), and it has it owns technology division called the Educational Technology Division that managing the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) aspects of the educational system in Malaysia. ICT has been introduced and widely used among schools in Malaysia since 1970 onwards. Computer education programme has already begun since 1999 because of that projects  such  as  Smart  School  Project were  handled  continuously.  Teachers’  Professional  Guidance  in  ICT  Project  is  a  special  programme  for  In-Service  teachers  in  aim  to  enable  teachers  to  use  ICT  in supporting their way of  teaching  (Lateh & Muniandy, 2010).

Computer knowledge  among  students  is  one  of  the  main  focus  of  the  Ministry  of Education, where schools were equipped with computer lab and IT teachers. Computer Literacy has already been introduced as a subject in schools, now the students and teachers knowledge in computer has increase substantially. Subjects with modified curricular in schools insist the usage of computer among teachers and students. ICT based programmes and projects have been figured out in year plan in aim to achieve this target. The Education Development Master Plan (PIPP) starting  from  2006  until  2010  under  the  ninth  Malaysian  Plan is an effort to produce students who are science competent, also creative thinkers. Another concept that has been introduced by the Ministry of Education is Malaysian Teachers’ Standard with the aim to upgrade the quality of teachers in Malaysia.

In 2013, the Government has launched the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2050) to increase the technology capabilities and e-services from students and teachers. One of the many goals laid out in the blueprint is to leverage ICT to scale up quality of learning across Malaysia. Malaysia’s development plan for education, as laid out in the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2015), is in line with the direction of the TN50 vision. To achieve this this goals, below are the action that already taken and still currently being fulfilled:

  1. Ensure 100% of schools meet the basic infrastructure requirement by 2015 starting with Sarawak and Sabah.
  2. Provide internet access and virtual learning environments via 1BestariNet for all 10,000 schools by 2013;
  3. Augment online content to share best practices starting with a video library in 2013 of Guru Cermerlang delivering lessons in Mathematics, Science, English language and Bahasa Malaysia;
  4. Maximise the usage of ICT for distance and self-paced learning to expand access to high-quality teaching regardless of location or student skill level;

As the world IT keep on changing, we also need to know that the system needs to keep evolving to stay up-to-date with. If not ahead of, global trends which is in conjunction with TN50 objective and also to ensure that the nation is prepared for the future beyond 2020. For example, disruptive technologies such as Robotic Technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the automation of knowledge work are expected to dramatically reshape the landscape of internet and social landscape from what it is today. Preparing Malaysian youth to grow well in this complex and ever-changing future will require an equally fundamental transformation of how the higher education system and higher learning institutions currently operate. This will equipped Malaysia in its journey towards becoming a high-income nation.

ICT IN BANKING SECTORS

The Malaysian banking and financial system has played a vital role in enabling the economic transformation and growth of the Malaysian economy. This strategic role of the banking and financial sector will increase in its importance in the years ahead as Malaysia becomes even more integrated with the international financial. The swift changes in the global economic and financial environment will also contribute towards altering the operating landscape of the Malaysian banking and financial system. At the same time, a more integrated and globalised environment, greater regionalisation, and the more sophisticated and diverse investment and financing needs of the domestic economy will require a financial system that is more progressive and dynamic to advance the nation’s vision of TN50 towards the attainment of a high value-added, high-income economy.

As mention before TN50 is critical to ensure that the nation is prepared for the future beyond 2020 and the transitions towards becoming a high value-added, high-income economy. To achieve this and to leverage on the opportunities going forward, consideration is made on the global trends and change that will affect the operating environment. The progress made in the banking system over the recent decade provides a foundation for the future growth and development in the future. The domestic landscape changes that are probably going to advance over this decade and the banking system that will be developed throughout the decade to 2020 toward TN50 and beyond, as the Malaysian banking sector matures and advances to become more effective in performing its intermediation function in tandem with Malaysia becoming a developed economy.

In Malaysia the banking sector has already implemented many of information technology application to keep up with the trending, sophisticated and keep on evolving  technology in the world of IT. The advancement of technology has allow the banking sector to deliver their product and services in a effective and convenience way than ever before. The quick access to the information and the ability to deliver the services in an instant will ensure their future success. By having a new ICT environment, the bank can provide an accountable customer service environment, direct marketing for their product and streamlined business process will directly gain a vital competitive advantage that are needed in the banking marketplace.

Internet banking or e-Banking in Malaysia has begun in the year 2000. On 1 June, 2000, the Bank Negara Malaysia has let locally owned commercial banks to offer Internet banking services. On 15 June, 2000 Maybank has introduced their internet banking portal – www.maybank2U.com and this making them the first Malaysian bank to offer Internet banking services in Malaysia. Successively, this was followed by many other local banks by offering their own internet banking services. Internet banking service that are currently being provided in the portal are banking enquiry functions, accounts summary as well as transaction history, bill and credit card payment. Customer service is still a priority so internet banking services customer support service is provided via e-mails and it is available daily  (UK Essays, 2015).

A swift developments in ICT has significantly changed the banking industry by transforming processes as well as the strategic focus of banking institutions. It has unlocked a new business opportunities as well as offering new methods of delivery of banking products and services through the Internet. A great example of this is an introduction of “The Maybank QRPay app” that will allows the users to receive payments from the customers instantly into to their bank account and monitor their business transactions conveniently on the go. Under this ICT environment, competitiveness will not depend only on physical presence, but on the ability to capitalise the technology strategies so as to deliver efficient and effective services. Successful banking institutions will be the ones that are able to leverage most from the ICT revolution as greater recognition is accorded to ICT as a driver of change (Bank Negara Malaysia, 2001).

The 21st century will also see changes to the regulatory and framework following the development toward TN50 and an increasingly more complex and competitive market. The new regulatory will also allows for a greater role for market discipline. This approach emphasises on high standards of corporate system, transparency and accountability. Banking institutions would need to adapt and to reevaluate their internal practices as well as the overall corporate culture to be consistent with the new rules and regulation  (Lee Goi, 2018).

The blue print for the development of the financial sector in Malaysia is summaries in Financial Sector Masterplan that was released March 2001. The constructive results that have been achieved on several fronts related to the adoption of the ICT to the eBanking system are:

  1. Domestic banking institutions have embraced a higher level of technology and improved business processes.
  2. New delivery channels through innovative technology-based mechanisms such as internet and mobile banking have enhanced the delivery of products and services as well as widened access to banking services

(Bank Negara Malaysia, 2004)

Malaysia banking sector has not reached a critical mass. Malaysian banks will need to develop an appropriate e-banking strategies to successfully compete both in the local and global marketplace. Proper understanding and planning is required to deploy the strategy or service effectively and safely, the private sector to achieve greater productivity and innovation to move to higher value-added services to drive toward TN50.

ICT IN TELECOMMUNICATION

During the past few decades the telecommunications industry in Malaysia has remarkable growth and transformations. This achievement in growth and structural transformation is through an increased integration with the global economy. This economic transformation has accompanied by an advancement in the Malaysia telecommunication infrastructure that are sophisticated and state-of-the art (Riaz, 2007).

According to The Statistic Portal (Statista, 2018), the total number of mobile subscribers increased from 16.82 millions at the end of 2015 to 18.08 millions at the end of 2016 this number is increased every year and will be projected to increased to 21.65 millions in the year of 2022 as shown on the figure 1:

Figure 1: Number of mobile phone users in Malaysia from 2015 to 2022 (in millions) Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/558698/number-of-mobile-internet-user-in-malaysia/

This shows the growth in demand for mobile services has far exceeded that for fixed/land line services. Mobile penetration overtook fixed/land line service during the 2000 and this trend continued to increase till today, this is due ease of implementation of its infrastructure compare to the implementation of fixed/land lines services in Malaysia. This trend has been largely driven by the favourable regulatory environment, the cheaper entry cost for subscribers, lower tariffs and the variety of mobile internet services through the introduction of prepaid services that is suitable for the low income and cost of owning a smart devices are getting lower.

The mobile phone has already became the favourite method of communication among all Malaysian. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected both economically and socially, technology adoption remains one of the defining factors in the progress of  telecommunication industry. According to Poushter, 2016 in 2013, a median of 45% across 21 emerging and developing countries reported using the internet at least occasionally or owning a smartphone. In 2015, that figure rose to 54%, with much of that increase coming from large emerging economies this including Malaysia, Brazil and China.

In general, the increases in international calls and increased popularity in the usage of mobile internet and other multimedia services supported the growth in the telecommunication industry. Furthermore, the introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services which was announced by The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) at the end of 2012 has contributed to the further increases in the growth in this sector.

In January 2013, Maxis announced the launch of Malaysia’s first LTE network, focusing on parts of the Klang Valley, the region around Kuala Lumpur where more than one-fifth of Malaysia’s population lives. Maxis says that speeds average 10-30 megabits per second (mbps) and reach up to 75 Mbps. Several other operators are set to quickly follow Maxis’ adoption of 4G LTE technology. In March that year Celcom Axiata, Malaysia’s second-largest mobile operator by subscriptions, announced that it would be allocating RM100m ($32.9m) in capital expenditure to roll out LTE (Oxford Business Group, 2013). This will be followed by many other mobile operator after that.

Hypothetically, the latest 4G LTE providers could offer mobile broadband speeds of up to 100 mbps. The introduction of 4G LTE in Malaysia shows a benchmark in technological improvement in the telecommunication sector in Malaysia.

According to Akamai Technologies, Inc. 2017, State of The Internet Q1 2017 Report, Malaysia has an average connection speed of 8.9 Megabits per second (Mbps), a 9.1% increase from last quarter and a 40% improvement from the first quarter of the previous year. Malaysia’s 10 Mbps Broadband Adoption has also increased, recording a 17% quarter-on-quarter change and a 179% year-on-year improvement as shown on the report. In a recent advancements in the Malaysian telecom space, including the presentation of 4.5G and 5G network system, had given a solid stimulus to digital advancement in the nation. “Malaysia has a growing millennial population of young, tech-savvy consumers with substantial purchasing power. Historically, this demographic has always been the early adopters of new technology, and factors such as the growth of smartphone adoption and affordable data plans, stand in Malaysia’s favour towards driving an Internet economy,” it added.

Regionally, the report said South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore had an average peak connection speed of above 100 Mbps, while 12 of the surveyed Asia-Pacific countries saw an average peak speed of above 50 Mbps, excluding China, the Philippines and India. It said Singapore once again led the region and the world with an average peak connection of 184.5 Mbps in the first quarter of 2017. Malaysia can see this as a target to achieved in TN50 and make Malaysia one of the top country in Asia.

With all this optimistic development in the communication sector and the vision that has been set on TN50, the advancement of this sector will definitely will show the enormous growth in future of our country.

CONCLUSION

After continuous emphasis on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Malaysia has performed outstandingly in many aspects of the sector and has also given the opportunities for the future economy of Malaysia. It also has already given a leverage on the growth of  Malaysia economic status.

World Economic Forum’s report (WEF, 2017) has ranked Malaysia as the 23rd most competitive nation in the world  and has comes out tops in the ICT competitiveness index among the developing ASEAN countries in areas such as Internet users, computers per capita, mobile broadband subscribers, information technology skills, broadband subscribers, cyber security and investment in telecommunication (Megat Zuhairy & Ibrahim, 2017). This is from the combination effort between private sector and the government to further solidified development in ICT in the future.

The Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025), utilising ICT is one of the components to shift the national education system to a world-class standard. Schools are equipped with ICT facilities, including computers, computer labs and broadband Internet connection and the Virtual Learning Environment for teaching and learning has started becoming a trend.

Multimedia applications with all its advantages and the consumption of services via digital platforms, such as in education, banking and telecommunication will be parts of societies life.  Malaysia government has opted wisely to push for ICT to shape the country’s future and in progress of strengthening it. We will be able to see the shape of that future in 2020 to 2050 and beyond.


Reference

Multidisciplinary European Research Institute Graz. (2009). What is meant by competitive advantage? Retrieved from Strategy Training: http://st.merig.eu/index.php?id=35

Lateh, H., & Muniandy, V. (2010). CT implementation among Malaysian schools: GIS, obstacles and opportunities. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 2.

UK Essays. (2015, March 23). History Of Internet Banking In Malaysia Information Technology Essay. Retrieved from UKesseys: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/information-technology/history-of-internet-banking-in-malaysia-information-technology-essay.php

Lee Goi, C. (2018, June 30). E-Banking in Malaysia: Opportunity and Challenges. Retrieved from Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce : http://www.icommercecentral.com/open-access/ebanking-in-malaysia-opportunity-and-challenges.php?aid=38622

Bank Negara Malaysia. (2001, May 3). Governor Dato’ Dr. Zeti’s Interview with The Star. Retrieved from Bank Negara Malaysia: http://www.bnm.gov.my/index.php?ch=en_speech&pg=en_speech&ac=24&lang=en

Bank Negara Malaysia. (2004, May 14). Governor’s Keynote Address at the Malaysian Banking Summit 2004 : “Towards World-Class Banking – Efficient, Effective and Resilient Banking System”. Retrieved from Bank Negara Malaysia: http://www.bnm.gov.my/index.php?ch=en_speech&pg=en_speech&ac=150&lang=en

Riaz, A. (2007). Telecommunications in economic growth of Malaysia. Journal of Contemporary Asia , 489-510.

Poushter, J. (2016, February 22). Smartphone Ownership and Internet Usage Continues to Climb in Emerging Economies. Retrieved from Pew Research Center: http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/02/22/smartphone-ownership-and-internet-usage-continues-to-climb-in-emerging-economies/

Megat Zuhairy, M., & Ibrahim, R. (2017, October 16). ICT to shape country’s future. Retrieved from NST: https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2017/10/291633/ict-shape-countrys-future

Oxford Business Group. (2013, April 17). In March that year Celcom Axiata, Malaysia’s second-largest mobile operator by subscriptions, announced that it would be allocating RM100m ($32.9m) in capital expenditure to roll out LTE. . Retrieved from Oxford Business Group: https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/news/malaysia-year-lte-telecoms

Statista. (2018, July 4). Malaysia: mobile phone internet users 2015-2022 Number of mobile phone internet users in Malaysia from 2015 to 2022 (in millions). Retrieved from The Statistics Portal: https://www.statista.com/statistics/558698/number-of-mobile-internet-user-in-malaysia/

WEF. (2017). The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018. Geneva: World Economic Forum. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-competitiveness-report-2017-2018

Ministry of Education Malaysia. (2015). Executive Summary Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education). Putrajaya: Ministry of Education Malaysia.

Akamai Technologies, Inc. . (2017). Akamai’s [State of The Internet] Q1 2017 Report. Akamai Technologies, Inc. .

Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam. (2018, July 9). TN50 – Aspirasi Malaysia. Retrieved from Transformasi Nasional 2050: http://docs.jpa.gov.my/docs/pelbagai/2017/INFO_RINGKAS_TN50.pdf

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