In early last year, the government began the formulation of a national Industry 4.0 framework to take Malaysia to the next level of competitiveness as we brave through the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).
The International Trade and Industry Ministry, the Science, Technology & Innovation Ministry and the Higher Education Ministry were tasked by the Cabinet to lead this initiative.
The framework will focus on greater compliance to Industry 4.0 within numerous cross-ministerial functions, from education, healthcare, manufacturing to downstream services, such as marketing and sales.
The manufacturing sector, which currently ranges between 2.0 (mass production) and 3.0 (automation) levels of compliance, is expected to go through a large scale transformation.
As the electrical and electronics, aerospace and automotive sectors have seen a higher level of Industry 4.0 advancement, these segments receive tremendous focus and support to spur lower tier businesses towards Industry 4.0 compliance, through a higher degree of business and job opportunities in high value economic activity.
The last two brainstorm sessions between International Trade and Industry Ministry and its nine agencies have focused specifically in the acceleration of the Malaysian industry towards future global trends.
These organisations, working in complete unison, focus on the different aspects of business development - covering capacity development, funding, export promotion, and specific sectoral needs for the automotive, aerospace and raw industry materials.
As at last year, the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) has implemented eight out of nine Industry 4.0 pillars that enhance the economic fundamentals for the automotive industry players.
These pillars include incubation and facilitation of businesses in highly demanding technology areas, such as smart manufacturing execution, digital engineering, big data management, additive manufacturing, cloud computing and cybersecurity.
The MAI Resource Center and the MAI Design Center are two important centers to the implementation mentioned, along with the intitute's headquarters in Cyberjaya.
It is important to understand that such economic and industrial fundamentals were not a product of short term milestones, but decades of continued socio-economic stability enjoyed by Malaysians.
As a nation that only 60 years of independence, we have enjoyed the peace of mind to focus on what lies ahead of us - granted through developmental economic policy, intellectual diversity, balanced resource management and long-term political stability.
In the inevitable future of globalised connectivity and borderless commerce, we can no longer afford to be sidetracked by issues that are counterproductive to the task we have ahead.
Many of the advanced nations we see today achieved their status more than a century before we even achieved our independence. Therefore, we need to move at a faster pace as a nation that is developing in the shadows of those with tremendous advantage over us.
It is easy and often pleasing to delve into issues that are sensational in nature. While the government plays a central role in the formation of the nation's industrialisation policies, the country will not achieve advanced status without societal focus and support in a politically mature fashion.
In the pursuit of fair administration, we must listen to all views and not only to those we prefer to hear. However, criticism must be free of sensationalism and rhetoric. They must be critically factual, fairly analysed and communicated truthfully.
For a democratically progressive society to move forward, each of us has a right to question and representation, but we also have the obligation to listen and analyse without pre-conceived bias. Let us not condescend merit that has been masked by sensationalist cynicism and populist rhetoric. Long term progress, especially in Industry 4.0 must start with a revolution of mind and maturity.
A quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people".
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.