LKYSPP Alum Ideas in Jakarta “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Are We Ready?”

8 Mar 2018

LKYSPP Alumni Indonesia Chapter co-organised for the first time with Temasek Foundation Connects a panel discussion titled “Fourth Industrial Revolution: Are We Ready?” in Jakarta on 8 March 2018.

In addition to LKYSPP alumni, the event was attended by NUS alumni and friends of Singapore in Jakarta.

The discussion was moderated by Dr Mulya Amri (PhD 2016, Senior Urban Development Specialist, The World Bank) and featured the following speakers:

  1. Prof. Mari Pangestu, (Former Minister of Trade and Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic of Indonesia; Visiting Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy)
  2. Mr. Hanafi Rais (MPP 2008, Vice Chair of Commission I, House of Representatives, Republic of Indonesia)
  3. Mr. Panji W. Ruky (MPA 2015, Senior Adviser, the Executive Office of the Republic of Indonesia)
  4. Mr. Oh Bee Lock (Head of Group Technology, PSA International Pte Ltd)
The discussion started by defining Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and its implications on the relationship between producers and consumers. 4IR blurs the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. It changes businesses models and creates a digital economy where it relies heavily on an accessible, affordable, high-quality internet connectivity, mobile technology, and the internet of things (IoT).


In 4IR, corporate-centric economy shifts into crowd-centric capitalism, characterised by the rise of virtual companies that do not necessarily have “assets” or “employees”. Instead, the virtual companies crowdsource the “assets” and “employees”. 4IR was inevitable and that it was pervasive, complex, and fast. Businesses need to adapt and reset their intuition to stay relevant.

In absolute terms, IR 4.0 brings benefits to the economy/society. But, in relative terms, there will be gainers and losers. For example, in the digital economy, some people will gain with greater inclusion (e.g. small-medium enterprises suppliers in Tokopedia; small food vendors in Go-Food). Consumers will also gain, thanks to reduced cost of information and rapidly changing innovation.

However, some people will also lose; digital dividends can only be enjoyed by those who have access to internet connectivity, and necessary skills. To mitigate the loss, it is critical to make sure that everyone has the same access to internet connectivity, and has ability to utilise technology effectively.

The least that the Indonesian Government can do is to provide digital identity to the citizens. It can be the first step to make sure that everyone has access to connectivity; and make sure that everyone is digitally present. However, this may need some time as Indonesia currently does not have a law on personal data protection.

4IR also requires the labour force to have increasingly specific skills. These skills may not be taught at schools or universities; signalling that schools or universities cannot keep up with the advancement of technology. Most importantly, technology disruption leads to job losses in lower-skill work. Indonesia needs to upgrade the skills of our labour force.

Data indicates that Indonesia’s performance is lagging among its peers, since the era of 3IR, as shown by: the relatively low share of hi-tech exports of total manufactured exports; the stagnant level of collective know-how; relatively low growth in domestic services value-added in manufacturing exports.

There are opportunities to mitigate the abovementioned risks by making strategic plans in: Ministry of Industry’s Roadmap to IR 4.0; BAPPENAS-led Indonesia 2045 Initiative; and RPJMN 2019-2024.

At the initial stage, it is also important to raise awareness of IR 4.0 across sectors. Because, lack of an understanding of this issue may lead to risks of policy responses being protectionist, which can adversely affect Indonesia’s competitiveness.

In the end all panellists were hopeful that the 4IR would bring more opportunities and improve economic inclusivity in Indonesia.

This alumni event was supported by Temasek Foundation Connects

Temasek Foundation Connects is a Singapore-based non-profit philanthropic organisation that funds and supports programmes, which seek to build bridges and partnerships, and promote dialogue and mutual understanding across international communities and markets. Established in 2016, the foundation’s programmes promote dialogue and advance collective knowledge and mutual understanding in key areas that are important to Singapore and on a global front. These include various issues such as security, geopolitics and economic imperatives of emerging markets, as well as best practices in areas such as corporate governance and stewardship. Temasek Foundation Connects is a member of the Temasek Family of Foundations.