Datuk Seri Najib Tun RazakKUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia aimed to double small and medium enterprise (SME) export growth rate by 2025 with the Digital Free-Trade Zone (DFTZ).
"We estimate US$65 billion (US$1=RM4.43) worth of goods will be moving through the DFTZ, with 60,000 direct and indirect jobs created as a result of this growth.
"There is enormous potential in this industry and I intend to fully explore this opportunity so that many more Malaysians will get to take advantage of it," Najib said in his latest entry in his blog najibrazak.com today.
He said the digital economy would play an important role in driving the country's growth and development as it was the only sector that could provide double-digit growth.
"Inclusivity is an essential part of our economic growth and development," the premier said, adding that DFTZ was an initiative to capitalise on the confluence and exponential growth of the Internet economy and cross-border e-Commerce activities.
"More importantly, DFTZ will be an inclusive initiative that will help SMEs prosper and have greater presence in our country and the region's businesses and industries," he said.
The newly launched DFTZ is the first in the world outside of China.
"In an era where geographical boundaries were blurred, it was important for everyone to keep up and embrace globalisation.
"Additionally, it would merge physical and virtual spaces, providing offline as well as online digital services.
"The e-Fulfillment Hub aims to help SMEs and businesses export their goods easily, while the Satellite Services Hub will be the region's digital hub for global and local Internet-based companies facilitating end-to-end support.
"The third component of DFTZ is the e-Services platform that will manage cargo clearance and other processes needed for cross-border trade," he added.
The first e-Fulfillment Hub would be located at KLIA Aeropolis, while an area in Bandar Malaysia would be dedicated to the initiative as well.
Najib said the launch of DFTZ marked a new milestone, not just for Malaysia, but for Southeast Asia as well.
"It is an initiative that I truly believe in, and I will personally drive this initiative to reach its goal," he said.
Najib said that he met Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma in Beijing on Nov 4, 2016 and both of them agreed to make something happen within ten minutes of their meeting.
"Fast forward to today, here we are launching DFTZ, just four months after that meeting. It was a task that many thought impossible, but we made it happen.
"Quoting my friend Jack Ma, "Malaysia is very business friendly" and I believe that with his guidance, together we can achieve this vision," he added.