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Malaysia’s New Economic Model:
Risks and Rewards
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AseanAffairs Magazine May - June 2010

Prime Minister Najib Razak vows to take Malaysia forward and transform it into a high income nation through economic and social reforms. Initial responses to this ambitious drive are mixed, details are scarce and investors play wait-and-see.Yet, Najib insists he’s got support to push ahead.

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Smarter Malaysia
Ramanathan Sathiamutty Managing Director, IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd

The Hon. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia (Center) along with (L - R) H.E. Victoriano M. Lecaros, the Philippines Ambassador to Malaysia, Ramanathan Sathiamutty, Managing Director, IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd, H.E. Norodom Arunrasmy, Ambassador of Cambodia to Malaysia, H.E. Secretary Annabelle T. Abaya, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Republic of the Philippines, H.E. Keo Puth Rasmey, Deputy Prime Minister, Cambodia, and Mr. S. Roy, Founder & CEO of AseanAffairs.
By smarter planet, IBM means that intelligence is being infused into the systems and processes that enable services to be delivered; physical goods to be developed, manufactured, bought and sold; everything from people and money to oil, water and electrons to move; and billions of people to work and live.

-Enormous computational power can now be delivered in forms so small, abundant and inexpensive that it is being put into things no one would recognize as computers; cars, appliances, roadways and rail lines, power grids, clothes; across processes and global supply chains; and even in natural systems, such as agriculture and waterways. (instrumented)
-All of these digital devices – soon to number in the trillions
– are being connected through the Internet. Some call this the “Internet of Things”. (interconnected)
-All of that data – the knowledge of the world, the flow of markets, the pulse of societies – can be turned into intelligence, because we now have the processing power and advanced analytics to make sense of it all. (intelligent) 

IBM began this conversation in November 2008. Smarter Planet is not an aspirational vision but a practical way to address the kinds of problems that were seizing the world in 2009, during a time when the world financial system was in free fall. We believe in this. And because we believe these solutions are within reach for business and society, we have committed the resources of the IBM company to making smarter systems a reality in every part of the world.

Smarter Solutions for Malaysia

The challenges and opportunities in Malaysia’s National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) as highlighted in the Government Transformation Program (GTP) -- crime, corruption, education, low income households, rural basic infrastructure and urban public transport -- are very much aligned with IBM’s Smarter Planet agenda.

We will be bringing to Malaysia works that we have done in other parts of the world, e.g. with the New York Police Department in reducing crimes, and with Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) in modeling and predicting traffic scenarios.

Ramanathan Sathiamutty, Managing Director, IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Right) with Keo Puth Rasmey, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia

In Malaysia, we will focus on co-creating with clients smarter solutions that enhance their competitiveness and create new possibilities for progress and growth. We are in constant discussion with various ministries and government agencies to engage them in building an innovative 1Malaysia, for example in developing smarter security solutions and smarter transport solutions.

IBMers in Malaysia

An example of a unique programme that combines the tenets of transformational leadership, values-based culture and a global mindset that companies need to develop and have as they aspire to be successful global businesses is IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC).

Now in its second year, teams of 8-10 of IBM’s top employees from around the world, with skills in technology, consulting, research, marketing and finance are deployed to key emerging markets for one month or more. The employees work with local organisations and businesses on projects that intersect business, technology and society.

Since last year, six employees from IBM Malaysia have participated in the program – their assignment took them to China (3 of them), Brazil, Vietnam and Nigeria. Another employee from IBM Malaysia will be leaving shortly for Romania for her CSC assignment.

Three teams of volunteers have since been deployed to Malaysia. They were working with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, The Handicapped and Mentally Disabled Children Association of Johor, and The Spastic Children’s Association of Johor on projects like improving their marketing and IT procedures, improving the people’s IT information skills, and improving their marketing and resource management, amongst others.

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