The Malaysian government wants to tap into the huge potential of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) by developing a blueprint aimed at supporting the drone industry ecosystem, said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the blueprint, dubbed the Malaysia Drones Technology Action Plan 2022-2030 (MDTAP30), will be formulated and executed as a national agenda, local media New Straits Times reported on Tuesday.

“The drone industry has the potential to generate MYR50.71 billion ($11.26 billion) towards the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) apart from creating 100,000 new employment opportunities by 2030,” Ismail Sabri said in a statement.

The Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) had been appointed as the coordinating agency and secretariat of MDTAP30, the prime minister said.

MRANTI would be submitting progress reports on the development of MDTAP30 to the National Digital Economy and Fourth Industrial Revolution Council’s New Emerging Technologies Cluster, he added.

The government would also be developing the UAS Traffic Management System (UAS-TM) to support the development of the industry. The UAS-TM would help to enhance the efficiency of the Drone Operator Registration Process.

The decision to develop MDTAP30 and UAS-TM was made when the prime minister chaired the second meeting of the National Digital Economy and Fourth Industrial Revolution Council.

“During the meeting, the council also took note of the concerns raised by industry players with regards to bureaucracy, which will be looked into to expand the national drone industry,” he said.

The groundwork for Malaysia to become a drone tech hub in the region can be traced back to as far as 2017 when government agency Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) kicked off initiatives to support drone startups and organized roundtables to address concerns in developing and managing the growing drone scene.

Later between 2019 and 2021, MDEC and other government agencies have also introduced several initiatives and programs to develop a robust and comprehensive drone tech ecosystem in the country.

Malaysia-headquartered drone tech firm Aerodyne ranked first among the top 40 remote sensing companies in the world last year by Drone Industry Insights.

Malaysia’s drone tech hub ambition: Opportunities & Challenges [Part 1]