What is the role of each quadrant (civil society, academia, industry and government) in embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)? What is ASM’s position in the 4IR? These are some of the questions that were addressed during the 27th IdeaXchange Session themed “Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Malaysian Perspective” organised on 5 December 2017.
The President’s Message was followed by a presentation by Vice President of R&D at Monash University, Professor Dr Mahendhiran S. Nair titled “Knowledge Content in Key Economic Sectors in Malaysia”. Through his presentation, he explains that despite having a vast pool of knowledge, Malaysia is unable to transform said knowledge into wealth. Instead of elevating the innovative capacity of Malaysia, he found that knowledge in science and technology adversely impacts it. He emphasises that the nation must address these issues in order to maximise its ability to embrace 4IR.
The forum session was moderated by Senior Fellow and Immediate Past President of ASM, Academician Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ir Ahmad Tajuddin Ali FASc. The panel consists of leaders from the industrial, government and academic sectors:
1. YM Tengku Datuk Dr Mohd Azzman Shariffadeen FASc, Vice-President, ASM
2. Professor Dr Mahendhiran S. Nair, Vice-President (Research & Development), Monash University Malaysia
3. Mr Johan Mahmood Merican, Deputy Director General (Human Capital), Economic Planning Unit (EPU)
4. Mr Jacob Lee, Council Member & Chairman Industry 4.0 Committee, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM)
Tengku Datuk Dr Mohd Azzman prefaced the session with an introduction to industrial revolutions; he stated that the first industrial revolution happened in England in the 18th Century, which brought about social and institutional changes that ended feudalismat that time. He emphasises that science, technology and innovation should be primary drivers, and ASM’s studies such as Emerging Science, Engineering and Technology (ESET), New Economic Opportunities (NEO) and Mega Science should be used as frameworks for Malaysia to create a framework for its own industrial revolution.
Professor Dr Mahendhiran stated the importance of knowledge in 4IR. 4IR is about connectivity of people as well as problem solving with the right knowledge. In order to embrace 4IR, the right kind of talent needs to be determined. Therefore, taking the future into account is an integral part of determining what kind of talent is relevant and crucial to continue driving the country’s industry forward.
Mr Johan is of the opinion that whether we acknowledge 4IR or not, the world in general is moving towards a new era. Therefore, it is imperative for Malaysia to embrace the myriad of changes that is happening to ensure Malaysia stays competitive and relevant. He said that Malaysia is rich in knowledge resources but each quadrant is still mostly working in silos. The nation as a whole needs to change this silo mentality and work together to embrace 4IR effectively.
Mr Jacob Lee in the panel session stated that manufacturers are well aware of 4IR, but most of them are still in the process of embracing the third iteration of the industrial revolution. In addition, he states that to move towards 4IR, it will be a costly process and would require more talent in order to move forward effectively. Mr Jacobs thinks that the industrial sector is ready to work with the government; SIRIM should play a major part put criteria on technical audit on 4IR.
In conclusion, the panel agrees that the nation in general is doing well, but it needs to pick up its pace to ensure Malaysia is abreast with other countries and remains relevant in the global arena. Therefore, by utilising strategic thinking and foresight on what the future holds for each quadrant, the right talent needs to be identified, discovered and nurtured to ensure Malaysia is on the right track towards success.
How would the Fourth Industrial Revolution shape the future of our society? What are the essential knowledge required to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Malaysia? Are Malaysian industries ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Submit your comments and opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org.