Pikom: Benefits to come from foreign investments and start-ups

PETALING JAYA: Hosting the annual RISE Conference will bring substantial economic benefits for Malaysia.

The National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom) expects a boost of more than RM500 million for the economy over the three years that the conference will be held in the country.

These will come from increased foreign investments in the technology sector and start-up ecosystem, job creation and tourism.

“The fact that RISE will be a physical event rather than a virtual affair also means that those in the tourism industry, comprising hotels, food and beverage outlets, organisers of tour packages and ancillary programmes, will see a huge boost in demand,” Pikom said.

On Monday, organisers of the RISE Conference announced that it had picked Malaysia to be its host for the three summits in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

The conference, which brings together technology chief executives, investors and start-ups from all over the world, has been hosted by Hong Kong over the past five years.

RISE co-host, Casey Lau, announced that the move to Kuala Lumpur was to expand the event to the “exciting region of Southeast Asia”.

According to Pikom chairman Danny Lee, local technology industry players and partners had been working for the past three years to bring the RISE Conference to Kuala Lumpur.

IT specialist Fong Choong Fook attributed Malaysia’s success in winning over the RISE Conference organisers to two factors – politics and business.

“Malaysia is a relatively neutral country, so it is considered safe. Business-wise, it is a smart move as it opens the door to Southeast Asia,” he told theSun.

Fong, who is chief executive officer of cyber security testing firm LGMS, pointed out that logistics and accommodation costs in Malaysia are also much lower compared with other countries such as Singapore.

He said on the other hand, adjustments may have to be made depending on the Covid-19 situation when we play host for the first time.

“We will be meeting under the new normal and our behaviour when attending the conference will have to change,” he said.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation chief executive officer Surina Shukri said the decision to bring the RISE Conference to Malaysia is in recognition of the collaboration among the government, agencies and industry players to build a leading digital economy in the region since 1996.

“It will also accelerate the country’s drive towards achieving the objectives under the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Shared Prosperity Vision, and establish Malaysia as the heart of a digital Asean,” she said.

The digital economy has been a key driver for Malaysia’s economic growth for several years.

Data from the Department of Statistics shows that in 2019, it contributed 19.1% to gross domestic product, up from 18.7% in 2018. Analysts and industry players believe the target of 20% this year is likely to be exceeded.