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MRANTI Addresses Malaysia’s Shift to Become Technology Producer

MALAYSIA is a developing nation when it comes to technology and innovation. 

It owes its success to the pool of innovators, a combination of various sectors and their innovative solutions which propel the digital economy forward. 


According to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), the digital economy is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Malaysia, the recipient of an impressive US$15.7 billion (RM75.05 billion) of investment in the third quarter of 2022 (3Q22) alone. 


The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint was unveiled in 2021 and the Digital Investment Office was established to pave the way for more investment in the digital economy. 


The goal is to attract US$16.1 billion in digital investment by 2025 and for the sector to account for more than 22.5% of GDP. 


To ensure a conducive environment for innovation and investment, the government has set regulatory frameworks to govern the digital economy. 


With the growing awareness of technology in economic development, Malaysia’s digital evolution encompasses everything from robotics to artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud technology, blockchain and cybersecurity. 


At the heart of its strategy, under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI), the establishment of the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) as the forefront of innovation hub and one-stop center for new emerging technology clusters is harnessing its full potential. 


Rebranded in 2021, through the merger between Technology Park Malaysia and Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC-TPM), MRANTI is built to facilitate the process of generating ideas to impact creation through invention, development and commercialization of technology and innovation. 


Backed by a fusion of governmental initiatives, MRANTI is expediting its role in digital evolution encompasses robotics to AI, IoT, cloud technology, blockchain and cybersecurity across diverse industries to enhance efficiency, innovation and overall competitiveness. 


MRANTI Ecosystem and Park is built with the IR4.0 integrated infrastructure facilities, from the living labs and development center to prototype facilities, small and hyper-scale data centers for creators, innovators, researchers as well as the civil society. 


MakerLab 

MRANTI Makerslab is integral to the MRANTI innovation ecosystem, dedicated to advancing additive manufacturing technology in the era of IR4.0. 


This 5,000 sq ft space serves as an innovator’s playground to create, experiment and realize ideas through the usage of new-age technologies, tools and facilities in a live environment. 


It also offers seamless access to a diverse array of living labs including BioScience Tech Living Lab, Autonomous Vehicles Experimental Lab (AVXL) and the IR4.0 Smart Manufac- turing Living Lab (SMLL) and cutting-edge machines where innovators can experiment with their ideas with expert guidance and access to collaboration opportunity. 

AVXL 

AVXL is an ultimate asphalt concrete test-bed to accelerate the AV technologies as such it provides a controlled area for safety and performance testing of AV through a combination of both controlled and real-world environments with a broad range of complex vehicles. 


MRANTI Park is now the fourth approved public test route spanning over a 12km route with both indoor and outdoor inducing 


features like a multi-story car park, roundabouts, T-junctions with traffic lights and zebra-crossing, and housing four research projects to date. 


IR4.0 SMLL 

The IR4.0 SMLL is a living lab supporting tech-driven product development. 


These include rapid prototyping to manufacturing workshops and labs with an IR4.0-integrated flexible manufacturing system (FMS) to be utilized as a shared test-bed by innovators. 


It also provides a scaling up to the industrial production level facilitated by expertise from MRANTI Engineering and MRANTI Nexus. 


DroneTech Living Lab: Area 57 

Located on 2ha of land at Phase 3 of MRANTI Park, Area 57 is an infrastructure to catalyze the local DroneTech industry. 


It provides an integrated infrastructure and facilities to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) innovators, developers and manufacturers to support them in each step of the drone development lifecycle from design and testing to the service and maintenance stage, all under one roof. 


The drone development is also targeted to sectors such as logistics, agriculture, entertainment, sport and skill development. 


It is hosting over 16 proof-of-concepts and conducted over 64 training sessions, empowering more than 200 participants in 2023. 


5GXC Areas 

The MRANTI 5G Experience Centre (5GXC) Areas is the gateway to explore the transformative world of 5G showcasing the power and potential of 5G in a real-world application. 


By engaging in the showcase areas, visitors will gain deeper insights into the world of 5G through expert presentations and knowledge sharing. 


MRANTI 5G Lab with its comprehensive coverage and initiatives have helped create a thriving ecosystem for 5G development. 


Addressing the Innovation Pinpoints

MRANTI is set to address the pinpoints of innovation and accelerate Malaysia’s shift from a technology consumer to a producer. 


Its CEO Datuk Wira Rais Hussin said in realizing the mission, the focus is to accelerate demand-driven research and development (R&D) in technology to position Malaysia as an innovation nucleus advancing toward a leading technology producer. 


“Accelerating the demand-driven R&D in technology and innovation across the industries will also address national and global challenges,” he said at a media visit and tour to MRANTI Park Bukit Jalil. 


During the tour, he emphasized that innovation must be focused on addressing the pain points of the nation. 


“It should not be just for the sake of innovation but must consider the overall impact on the nation and the society. 


“The focus has been more on input and output, rather than on the outcome and impact technology has on society,” he added. 


In addition to innovation and technology, he emphasized MRANTI’s priority to address food security issues, brain drain and job placement challenges such as tech talent pools migrating to other countries in search of better opportunities. 


“Food security is a big issue. The ministry has recently mandated us as an agency responsible to facilitate and address national food security using IR4.0 and we have been working very hard on it,” he said. 


He added that innovation should and must address this issue as it enables a system for good food practices in terms of increasing yield and revenue while addressing food security. 


On food security, MRANTI will learn from the framework of a country like Qatar, in enhancing its food security and domestic food production as it can produce a significant portion of its food. 


These include investing in vertical farming and developing technologies that can enhance agricultural productivity or crop cultivation while acknowledging the vulnerability associated with relying heavily on food imports. 


“The agricultural industry is one of the sectors that will benefit greatly from IR4.0. 


“Through the power of IR4.0, it could manage the issue of safety and food security for the people in a more organized manner and reduce the pressure on the resources it owns,” he added. 


Rais noted that even though Malaysia is the main consumer of rice, it can only produce around 70% of its domestic demand while the rest is imported. 


Malaysia also relies heavily on imports for simple food products such as chillies and tomatoes. 


The readiness of the talent pool for technology advancement is a critical factor in determining a country’s ability to embrace and leverage emerging technologies. 


Despite that fact, Malaysia is losing intellectual capital and expertise where a significant number of tech talent, especially with the younger generations choosing to work and reside abroad. 


“Brain drain is a big issue, we have lost 500,000 strongly trained skilled talent aged above 25 in the last 10 years, with fantastic skillset but imported seven million low-skilled workers into the country due to various reasons,” he said. 


Realizing this, MRANTI is committed to playing a role in guiding the future of talents and will be looking into the “edutech” space. 


Currently, there are more than two universities in the MRANTI Park which specialize in automotive engineering and AI robotics. 


In terms of education and enhancing human capital, MRANTI is also finalizing several collaborations with a Chinese university for a knowledge transfer for a post-graduation programme in the area of tech and innovation R&D including the nuclear sciences. 


Data Centre Development 

To thrive in a digital and data-driven era, data centers are integral to empowering businesses, start-ups and research institutions with the necessary infrastructure and computational resources. 


MRANTI previously announced a collaboration with Asia Pacific data center solutions provider, Bridge Data Centers, to develop and expand its hyperscale data center campus, named MY03, which will offer a total IT power capacity of 64 megawatts (MW). 


There are two phases to the expansion project. Phase 1 is scheduled to be ready for service with 16MW by 3Q25 while Phase 2 is set to begin operations in 4Q27. 


This development strengthens MRANTI Park’s position as a leading technology hub for the global community, promoting business success. 


Beyond data center development, Rais also noted that MRANTI is committed to advancing AI through its center development into part of the MRANTI ecosystem. 


Propelling The Drone Industry 

Fulfilling its mandate to catalyze innovation adoption and create a future economy, MRANTI also spearheads drone tech development which involves a wide range of DroneTech ecosystem partners to ensure the industry achieves its full potential while maintaining national security and safety standards. 


Malaysia’s agriculture and plantation sector especially has responded well to calls to innovate and drones can now be seen hovering over fields to support the new era of agriculture. 


Integrating the demand with smart farming technologies such as IoT sensors and data analytics to enhance the capabilities of drones, MRANTI is paving the way for aerial innovation through its programmes and infrastructure. 


It has also developed a comprehensive strategy and initiative through programmes such as 3Ps: Programme, Partnership and Park, and the Malaysia Drone Technology Action Plan 2022-2030 (MDTAP30) framework. 


The action plan also aims to provide air mobility solutions as sustainable and cost-effective alternative transportation as well as provide robust smart city solutions for drone operations in urban areas. 


“Drone is definitely an area we are looking at and it can go beyond just the agriculture ecosystem. 

“With digitalization and drone’s clear detection and precision, it also has the potential to lessen corruption and leakage,” Rais said. 


MRANTI has also been positive in laying the foundation to address the challenges relating to regulatory intervention; required policy updates; process integration and alignment of ministries, agencies, authorities and industry players to ensure a viable and profitable growth path among local drone players. 


It is estimated that there are currently over 110,000 drone units registered in Malaysia. 


Drone operators in Malaysia are regulated by several government agencies, regulatory bodies and authorities including Standard and Industrial Research Malaysia, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the Department of Survey and Mapping while the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) is in charge of issuing approval. 


For aspiring innovators and disruptors, MRANTI Park is a venue for them to go and turn their ideas into creations. 


Its broad access to the network enables creators to nurture ideas into industry-changing solutions and commercialization. 


Among other key focus areas for technological innovation are robotics, AVs, health tech, 5G technologies, sustainability and IR4.0 technology. 


MRANTI is also undergoing a rebranding exercise to broaden its impact which will be announced soon. 


“The government has agreed that we need to upgrade, and for that, there is some allocation and we are still discussing 


how it will be dispersed,” Rais said. MRANTI is expected to sustain a constant upward trajectory with revenue and EBITDA growth of 40%-45%, respectively, this year and accelerate the technology commercialization rate to 20% by 2025. 


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