• Madani Sahari

Readiness is more a state of mind

MORE often than not, stories of healthy progress are easier to find than we think.

In a world where social media has pushed us into a state of information overload, it is easy to sift through headlines that may create a dent in our spirits.

In recent times, there are numerous milestones that will pave the path to a future steeped in technology adoption and opportunities for Malaysians.

Proton is showing a comeback through its recent spell in its increasing market share, with more 3S and 4S centres opening nationwide and a keen eye on export targets.

Perodua on the other hand has strengthened its in-house design capabilities, bringing advanced technology to the entry level market that was previously reserved for mid-range and premium vehicles— setting a new standard of automotive safety for all Malaysians.

Speaking of safety, Malaysian- made vehicles continuously received high safety ratings despite being the most affordable in the region.

Our parts and components suppliers have also done a tremendous job over the past few years. Exports of vehicle parts & components have risen from RM4.7 billion in 2014 to RM12.1 billion last year, and looks set to surpass the RM13 billion mark by this year-end.

More than 50 per cent of vendors have achieved a supply chain level 3 status, capable of lean production and efficient operations. Close to a third of them are capable of in-house design.

Additionally, remanufactured parts and components recorded an export figure of RM523.1 million last year.

More Malaysians are part of the automotive sector today, which has created around a quarter million new jobs in the last five years, with a quarter of the figure last year alone.

Last year, 62 per cent of the cars registered on the road were energy efficient vehicles (EEVs), signifying that many Malaysian car owners are keen on energy efficiency.

The obvious question is: are we ready for the next step. However, we need to know what are we preparing for?

When Vision 2020 was announced close to three decades ago, its first line envisioned Malaysia as an economy that is competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.

One of the key challenges in the vision was the challenge of establishing a scientific and progressive society, a society that is innovative and forward-looking, one that is not only a consumer of technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilisation of the future.

While it is important that we build the economies of scale needed for a thriving automotive sector, it is important to remain true to our goals to develop technological capital, which lies in the development of Malaysian careers and businesses in advanced technology.

We saw strong buildup to the introduction of 5G connectivity, bringing in faster Internet connectivity, which more importantly has a lower latency to form the foundations for the connected vehicle-to-everything communication.

A Malaysian firm, eMoovit, showcased a prototype for an autonomous vehicle, the second time we have come across local talent in autonomous transportation since the REKA self-driving car was showcased at the Malaysia Autoshow last year.

Overall, readiness for the next step does not always depend on what we have achieved alone.

The ability to believe that one is ready pays higher dividends, and the examples shown above were not done by people who said they were ready, but were ready to set an example of reaching higher levels of achievement.

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