The Government May Hire Business Mogul Jack Ma As Malaysia's Digital Economy Advisor

The Malaysian premier is on his third official visit to China.

Cover image via Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/SAYS

It's official: Jack Ma is Malaysia's digital economy advisor

Image via NST Online

Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has accepted the invitation from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to become an advisor to the Malaysian government on the digital economy.

He made the announcement during his speech at the launch of Alitrip Malaysia Tourism Pavilion at the China World Hotel in Beijing, China today, 4 November.

"Jack Ma has accepted our invitation to be advisor to the Malaysian government on digital economy. He will advise us and tell us how to put together the road, the path to the future," he was quoted as saying by NST.

Adding to the good news, Najib reportedly said that Ma has also agreed to attend Malaysia's Global Transformation Forum and to launch the e-Free Trade Zone in March next year.

"We will work at super speed to make this happen. We will make this happen," Najib said.

1 November: PM Najib Razak is on an official visit to China beginning yesterday, 31 October until Sunday, 6 November

Image via @NajibRazak

At the invitation of the Premier of the State Council of China, Li Keqiang, this is Datuk Seri Najib Razak's third official visit to China since 2009.

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and other cabinet ministers, chief ministers, as well as senior government officials from relevant ministries and agencies, have accompanied Najib on this trip.

It was reported that Najib will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang.

One of the main highlights of this trip will also include Najib's meeting with Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of the Alibaba Group, a family of successful Internet-based companies

All eyes will be on the business mogul, whose net worth is currently estimated at USD37.1 billion, and Najib to see if there will be any announcement on digital economic collaboration between the two.

NST reported treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah as saying that, Ma may be offered an advisory post to help Malaysia develop its digital economy.

"We will discuss with him about bringing his ideas, and there’s also talk about appointing him to the digital councils in Malaysia, to get his ideas," Mohd Irwan was quoted as saying.

Ma has been appointed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to be the national economic advisor of Indonesia.

Najib's working visit comes at a time when China is said to be offering attractive military and economic deals to America's friends in Southeast Asia, particularly to those countries that border the contested South China Sea

Image via @NajibRazak

The visit will see the Malaysia and China sign at least 10 government-to-government Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) on economy, tourism, construction, education and defence.

In 2013, Malaysia and China agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, which means that the diplomatic ties are no longer focusing on politics.

Under the comprehensive strategic partnership, Malaysia and China continue to enjoy close and cordial bilateral relations and cooperation in key areas such as economy and trade, defence and security, science and technology, and education.

The premier has been saying great things about the republic as trade relations between Malaysia and China continues to grow

Najib, in an exclusive interview with China Daily Online recently, said that he regards China "as a true friend and a strategic partner" and the relationship between the two countries has "created benefits not just for the people of our two nations but also for regional stability and harmony."

"It is a relationship I am personally committed to; not just as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, but also as the son of Tun Razak – our former Prime Minister who first established diplomatic relations with China 42 years ago," the portal quoted him as saying.

Do you think Jack Ma will accept Malaysia's offer of an advisory post to help develop the country's digital economy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, the government has rolled out several measures to attract more Chinese tourists to Malaysia: