Monday March 20, 2017
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Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 27, 2014. — Reuters picJack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 27, 2014. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will launch the first Digital Free-Trade Zone on Wednesday.

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Datuk Ahmad Maslan told Parliament today, the event will also see the presence of Alibaba founder, Jack Ma.

He said this when replying to a question from Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah (BN-Mukah) on the strategic framework being undertaken by Miti to ride the Industry 4.0 wave, as it could enhance the country’s income to RM2 trillion in the next seven to eight years.  

The Digital Free-Trade Zone, a brainchild of Najib, is being planned to encourage more people to join the country’s e-commerce sector.

The implementation of the first Digital Free-Trade Zone in the world was unveiled in the 2017 Budget.

Internet tycoon Jack Ma was appointed Malaysia’s digital economy adviser by Najib during his official to China last year, and to help spearhead the country’s e-commerce development.

The Digital Free-Trade Zone will merge physical and virtual zones, with additional online and digital services to facilitate international e-commerce and invigorate Internet-based innovation.

Ahmad said Malaysia as a country that depended on trade needed to enhance its value chain to become a high-quality factory base through the use of technology to effectively compete at both the regional and global levels.

“As such, the government has a number of initiatives related to Industry 4.0 including declaring 2017 as the Malaysia Internet Economy Year,’ he added.

Industry 4.0 encourages companies to use automation and exchange data in manufacturing technology that creates smart plants, with machines linked to the Internet and a system that can capture the overall production chain.

Ahmad said the contribution of Malaysia’s digital economy to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had reached 17.8 per cent in 2015 and almost realised the targeted 18.2 per cent set for 2020.

“A sum of RM162 million was allocated in Budget 2017 for various programmes as e-Commerce ecosystem and the Digital Maker Movement, as well as identifying a new location for the Digital Hub Malaysia,” he added. — Bernama

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