Budget 2023: Call for 5G, cyber security incentives and focus on digital banking

03 Oct 2022 - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 (Bernama) -- With Malaysia finally moving ahead with the fifth-generation network (5G) deployment, it is an opportune time for Budget 2023 which will be tabled this Friday, to focus on 5G-related technology and digital incentives.

National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) chairman Dr Sean Seah said 5G will eventually improve many operations and businesses, thus the incentives are important for sector players to get on board and adopt 5G.

"The pandemic and post-pandemic have turbo-charged the adoption of digital and technology, this trend will continue throughout 2023. The technology sector will continue to be the enabler for retail, e-commerce, tourism, smart manufacturing, smart farming, healthcare and banking as they continue to be future-ready," he told Bernama.

Sean also suggested the allocation of a special fund to CyberSecurity Malaysia in the upcoming budget to include programmes for raising cyber security awareness and implementing best practices in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and medium-sized companies in this country.

He said it includes certification and subscription to cyber security alerts and mitigation programmes besides encouraging investment in security software to ensure the safety and security of tech systems, banking systems and personal data are well protected.

Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), the government-owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) for 5G rollout, is committed to an accelerated schedule to roll out 5G coverage to 80 per cent of the population by 2024.

Sean's views were also echoed by Monash University Malaysia School of Business senior lecturer Dr Andrei Kwok, who said Malaysia will be able to accelerate its digital capabilities and incentivise 5G to enable the nation to catch up on the adoption of emerging technologies such as Internet of Things and cloud computing.

He pointed out that the incentives can also attract foreign investment while supporting local industries’ digitalisation and developing innovation capabilities to gain a competitive advantage.

"Furthermore, it can increase social inclusion by providing the population access to technology nationwide. On the other hand, the development of smart cities will significantly depend on faster and seamless connectivity," he said.

Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)’s Adjunct Professor Dr Tharek Abd Rahman said next year, mobile network operator's will start offering 5G services and current networks on 4G will improve further in terms of quality of experience and coverage.

The telecommunication expert noted that the target for Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) phase two is to have 100 per cent of 4G coverage nationwide in populated areas starting from 2023.

"The Introduction of 5G can provide productivity and economic growth. Some of the benefits of 5G are to support the introduction of new services in digital healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, agriculture and beyond smartphones," he said.

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), a total of 500 5G locations have been completed under phase 1A as of December 2021, covering areas in Cyberjaya, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, while phase 1B would see another rollout of 3,518 5G sites by year-end.

Commenting on the digital banking phenomenon, Monash University Malaysia's head of the School of Business Professor Dr Nafis Alam said with the implementation of 5G on the card and digital banking operation next year, the push for automation and digitisation in the SME's sector will be advantageous for the tech sector.

He added that digital engagement and blockchain technology will likely drive efforts to rebound from the pandemic as companies and the government will be further pumping investment in the technology sector.

"With some challenges in the chip and tech, part production due to disruption in the supply chain is also an opportunity for emerging economies to start some production hubs. This will further boost the demand and supply in the tech sector. It will be a bumper year for the technology sector in 2023," he said.


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