NATIONAL HIGH TECHNOLOGY AGENDA 2.0
I believe a nation must not remain static and venture into new programs that will benefit itself in the short or long run. Like any other organisation, to survive, it needs to continuously re-invent itself. Therefore, it was with great relief and excitement when I heard the Prime Minister spoke about the making of the National Car Project (NCP) 2.0
The first NCP started in the mid-80s immediately created the euphoria effect for Malaysians to believe that we can ‘dream it possible’ into the high tech industry and transform ourselves from being fully dependent on the commodity-driven agriculture sector. The NCP also motivates STEM-loving students to imagine working in our own complex, manufacturing facility. A parent then would remarked proudly to others, “my son / daughter works in Proton”.
When the first Proton car came off the assembly line and went on the roads throughout the country to introduce itself, the whole nation was awaken and proudly bathe in its glory and pride. Children were running after the car just to touch it. If there were mobile phones at that time, and Facebook or Insta accounts were available, it would have gone viral many million times over. A saga worth to be made into a blockbuster movie, I think.
What can we do to re-create that euphoria again? Would another NCP be able to pull the nation together again and raise our confidence and the feeling proud to-be Malaysian re-ignited? Could we put what we learn from the first NCP and create a more economical and sustainable NCP 2.0?
I believe we can and we should go for NCP 2.0. But we must approach it differently by leveraging on the new technologies such as 3-D printing, AI, Robotics and others. The investment should not be too exorbitant and we could even raise the fund through crowd funding. Since we have no more baggages, like other car manufacturers, we could act faster and focused on new market niches. Moving forward, we must be able to work with others smartly and on equal footing.
I can already imagine how it could be done. In fact, at the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) together with a few emerging innovative SMEs, were already talking and planning about it a year or two ago. It’s not going to be the bulky, voluminous, high investment, game. It has to be modular, new materials and smart production process. It’s about meeting customers’ specific needs and subscribing to the highest environmental requirements. I believe Malaysia can do it and we should go for it.
But I don’t think we should just stop at cars. With the rail projects being shelved and reviewed, It provided us with the window to think about trains too. The Malaysian Rail Industry Corporation (MARIC) with members coming from the best-of-the-best rail systems work, is ready to support this. The demand in South East Asia alone is huge enough. And we are ahead of the curve.
I would then suggest to the Government to consider a National Mobility Project rather than just NCP that includes cars, buses and trains for a start. Their platforms are almost the same. And then, drones and ships. Study, evaluate and decide. And be transparent. Let’s work smarter, together to realise this dream. The dream to be proud to-be-Malaysian again and walk amongst the Giants. I believe this would kick-off the making of the National High Technology Agenda 2.0. We are ready to support and making it happen.
In that spirit, and with much gratitude to the Almighty, I would like to wish all Malaysians, especially our loyal and dedicated members of MIGHT, a Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir Batin.
Datuk Dr. Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman
President & CEO of MIGHT