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Expanding AI Education in Malaysia’s Public Universities

In a session at the Dewan Negara, Senator Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran proposed a significant expansion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) courses across public universities, aligning with the anticipated transformative impact of AI technology on the future job landscape.

Senator Chandran emphasised that greater participation of higher education institutions in offering AI courses would create a more extensive platform for cultivating experts capable of addressing the challenges arising from the evolution and development of AI technology.

Citing a study conducted by the Ministry of Human Resources, which projected that approximately 4.5 million workers in the country could face job displacement by 2030 due to advancements in AI and Machine Learning (ML), Senator Chandran underscored the importance of mitigating this risk through the provision of additional AI-related educational opportunities. While acknowledging that the majority of jobs at risk are categorised as semi-skilled and unskilled, he stressed the profound impact such a shift could have on people’s livelihoods, warranting proactive measures.

These proposals were articulated during the deliberation of the Supply Bill 2024 in the Dewan Negara. Senator Chandran expressed support for the government’s initiative to establish the nation’s first Artificial Intelligence Studies Centre, housed at the Faculty of Artificial Intelligence in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). This centre, announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as part of the Budget 2024, received an initial allocation of RM20 million.

While commending the establishment of the AI Studies Centre at UTM, Senator Chandran argued for a more intensified effort, calling for the active involvement of additional public higher education institutions in providing AI courses. He believed that expanding educational offerings in the AI field could play a crucial role in reducing the projected job displacement and equipping the workforce with the necessary skills for the evolving job market.

In the context of potential job losses outlined in the Ministry of Human Resources study, Senator Chandran stressed the significance of not underestimating the impact of AI and ML advancements. He emphasised that the livelihoods of individuals were at stake, necessitating a proactive approach to skill development and education in emerging technologies.

Furthermore, Senator Chandran argued that the participation of more educational institutions in offering AI studies could have broader economic implications. He suggested that a robust educational ecosystem in AI would be an attractive factor for investors in the industry, as it would demonstrate the country’s commitment to fostering a skilled and credible talent pool capable of meeting the demands of the evolving job market.

In mid-October, Malaysia presented its 2024 budget, said to be the largest in the nation’s history, with an allocation of RM303 billion (US$64.7 billion). To fulfil fiscal obligations and decrease the deficit to 4.3%, the budget introduces significant structural changes to Malaysia’s tax system, affecting both businesses and individuals.

Notably, a capital gains tax is introduced, and there is an upswing in service tax rates. Furthermore, the government has confirmed the implementation of e-invoicing starting from 1 August 2024 and the adoption of the global minimum tax in 2025. These measures signify a comprehensive approach to fiscal management, aiming to enhance revenue streams, streamline tax processes, and align with global taxation standards.

Senator Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran’s proposals centre around the crucial role of education in mitigating the potential negative impacts of AI and ML advancements on the job market. By advocating for an expanded offering of AI courses in public universities, he aims to not only address the challenges posed by technological developments but also position the country as an attractive destination for investments in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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