Is Malaysia ready for AI?

First of all, let me thank the Chemical Bioprocess Engineering Student Society (BIOSS) for the kind invitation to the closing ceremony of its 5th International Biotechnology Competition and Exhibition (IBCEx 2019).

Let me begin by congratulating UTM for its recent improved international university rankings – as in January this year, it was the third among 11 Malaysian universities to be ranked in the Times Higher Education (THE) Emerging Economies University ranking 2019, with University of Malaya (UM) ranked No. 18, Universiti Teknology Petronas (UTP) ranked No. 60, and Universiti Technology Malaysia (UTM) ranked No. 86; while in the latest inaugural Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings 2019, it was third among eight Malaysian universities listed in the new university global ranking after USM and University of Malaya.

All Malaysians want want to see Malaysian universities to be ranked among the world’s top universities in the world, and I urge UTM and all Malaysian universities to continue to excel themselves in academic excellence to bring distinction to the country.

Undergraduate years are times when youths should be able to express their idealism, especially when we are living in exciting times, including in your fields of study in the areas of biotechnology.

I am always fascinated by the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in human development. Recently, a study on AI in Malaysia concluded that Malaysia is not ready yet for AI. and that to succeed in the AI race. Malaysia needs to substantially improve its readiness.

Organizations’ leadership should make AI a core part of their strategy and develop a learning agility culture. They have to continuously invest in this transformative technology for the long term-term success, sometimes without immediate returns.

Universities are ideal test-beds for the development of the AI strategy and culture.

More than two decades ago, the Multimedia Super Corridor was launched to transform Malaysia into a knowledge economy and to place Malaysia as a leader of the cyber era, but we failed in this regard and we have become a follower instead of a leader or even competitor in the Internet Age, and South Korea is a good example.

Are Malaysians ready for AI? This is the challenge which must be answered by the new generation of Malaysians, in particularly those in the universities.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri