New Straits Times - #TECH: 2022 Budget: Thumbs up to the various allocation to boost the tech industry

29 Okt 2021 - New Straits Times

THE 2022 Budget tabled by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz has received some mixed reactions from the technology industry.

The National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) welcomes extension of the special RM2,500 tax relief for purchase of handphones, computers and tablets seeing that these tech-related items are today regarded as a necessity for every household.

Its chairman, Danny Lee said the Covid-19 pandemic and even during this national recovery period has resulted in the increased need for tech devices for businesses and students.

"We are very pleased that MOF has decided to continue with the special relief of RM2,500," he said.

PIKOM views that the technology industry will continue to source for skilled talents, therefore the need to reskill and upskill Malaysians are imperative. "The tax deductions for up to RM7,000 for upskilling courses would boost this effort and complement the JaminKerja initiatives in creating 600,000 job opportunities," said Lee.

Currently, PIKOM is collaborating with HRDCorp and MDEC on place and train programmes. Training programmes such as Data Analytics, Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence have been in demand both in training and job openings. The focus on TVET with an allocation of RM6billion is lauded.


Besides that, Pikom is also appreciative of the emphasis on women in the budget including providing incentives for mothers at work and mandating public listed companies to include women in leadership positions.

"Through our Women in Tech (WIT) Chapter initiative, it is our hope that these efforts would continue," said Lee.

He also said that the government's pivot to cloud is also long overdue and it is hoped that this will spur the uptake of cloud services in the public sector.

"The allocation for IR4 transformation, drone industry development, e-sports and start-ups augurs well for the digital agenda. This is somewhat aligned to the MyDigital initiatives," he said.

On another note, EPF extending the reduced minimum contribution rate of 9 per cent until June 2022 will greatly assist businesses during this difficult period. This should return to the current prevailing rate in 2023 or earlier as the situation warrants.

"While there have been some noteworthy inclusions in Budget 2022, Pikom is of the opinion that it is merely an extension of the previous budgets and this does not provide a transformative effect on the country," said Lee.

E-sports boost

The focus on e-sports in this budget has received a positive reaction from Yoodo.

Its head Chow Tuck Mun said the company is thrilled that the esports industry will benefit from this sizeable allocation by the government.

"As long-time supporters of the esports community, we're glad that the esports industry will now have more opportunities for talent development next year," he said.

"E-sports is an industry with many components that can benefit from the allocation. We hope the allocation will be able to impact player development and other talents associated with the industry – tournaments and leagues, esports teams and organisations, broadcasters and media, developers/publishers, and marketing platforms, to name a few," he added.

Meanwhile, Red Hat Malaysia's country manager, Eric Quah, said the Malaysian government is fortifying the country with strategic investments to be ready for Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) and to welcome the global digital economy.

"We applaud the government's commitment to expand 5G services to 36 per cent of high-density areas including major cities in Johor, Selangor, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak in 2022. This commitment, tied with the investment of RM30 billion through government-linked companies (GLCs) under the Perkukuh Pelaburan Rakyat (PERKUKUH) initiative, will be critical to Malaysia's transition to 5G and infrastructure modernisation," he said.

"We see tremendous opportunity for us to further accelerate and power the digital journey with our customers across Malaysia. We believe 5G will be the foundation for a new wave of innovation and opportunities. Across the world, the telecommunications industry is testing 5G innovations and multi-access edge computing (MAEC) technology. The dawn of 5G exponentially expands the capabilities and potential of connected IoT and business applications, boosted by the consistency of low latency and higher bandwidth availability to all," he added.

Reviving the SMEs

Boost, meanwhile, welcomes the Government's commitment to revive the micro-enterprises and SME (MSME) business community.

"The RM40 billion allocated for the Semarak Niaga Keluarga Malaysia programme with a focus in increasing financing access to MSMEs will go a long way to shore up resources for long-term and sustainable recovery," said its CEO, Sheyantha Abeykoon.

"Serving the underserved and unserved is in Boost's DNA which puts us very much aligned to the Government's direction and we will continue to complement the MSME initiatives proposed in Budget 2022. With our digital payment, merchant solutions and digital alternative financing businesses, we are focused on ensuring local small businesses have access to powerful, yet simple to use, digital tools as well as low-cost business capital," he said.

"Boost is an official partner in the currently on-going Go-e-commerce Onboarding campaign where we have successfully helped 12,000 MSMEs digitalise their businesses at zero cost with no onboarding or sign up fees. In addition, we have waived our merchant discount rate (MDR) to help MSMEs earn 100 per cent of their revenue. The take-up rate sends a clear message that this Government initiative is well received by MSMEs and presents another step forward in helping them unleash their full potential through digital transformation," he added.

Another crucial building block proposed by the Finance Minister is to further the MyDigital agenda.

"A key initiative to look forward to is the National Digital Identity project that we are confident will contribute to building a robust digital ecosystem with seamless interoperability between various digital services including digital payments," said Sheyantha.

Airbnb, meanwhile, welcomes the new initiatives and incentives allocated to Malaysia's tourism industry as part of the National Budget 2022.

"They signal strong and positive steps towards revitalising travel in a post-pandemic era. We are heartened by this much-needed support for the entire sector as we collectively work to support and rebuild Malaysia's tourism economy," said the company's head of Public Policy, Southeast Asia, Mich Goh.

"We applaud the Government's introduction of the Malaysia Digital Nomad Program to build a national ecosystem and community of digital nomads as a catalyst for tourism recovery. Airbnb is a platform of choice for digital nomads globally, who look for unique getaways with top-notch remote work amenities. We believe that we are entering a new era where travel and living are increasingly blurring, and that the Malaysia Digital Nomad Program marks a progressive and exciting way forward for tourism in the country," she said.

"The allocation of spending to rejuvenate Malaysia's national conservation and preservation efforts, including the rejuvenation of Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve, are also welcome moves to rebuild tourism in a more sustainable and inclusive way. As part of our broader efforts to support this, Airbnb recently launched our inaugural Airbnb Green Stays Awards in Malaysia, which aims to recognise and empower small, local tourism accommodation providers that incorporate sustainable practices into their operations," she said.

Maximising digital economy

Budget 2022 is clear in its intent to maximise the potential of the digital economy, particularly in its focus to expand the 5G ecosystem under the National Digital Network Plan (Jendela).

Trend Micro Malaysia and Nascent Countries, managing director, Goh Chee Hoh, said It is encouraging to see the government investing funds of up to RM700 million to improve connectivity across 47 industrial locations and 630 schools nationwide.

"As the government ramps up its bold initiatives to intensify digitalisation, it is imperative that cybersecurity stays top-of-mind for enterprises as they defend against the ever-increasing onslaught of cyber threats. The past year especially has seen cyber attacks escalating in complexity," he said.

"While it is laudable that the Defense Ministry has been allocated RM16 billion to fortify our national borders, efforts should also go into strengthening the nation's cybersecurity stance. This is especially critical when security-related incidents in recent times illustrate cybersecurity as a key infrastructure priority," he added.

Meanwhile, PropertyGuru Malaysia's country manager, Sheldon Fernandez, commended the government for focusing on the nation's recovery and introducing initiatives that can further build the nation's resilience and alleviate the struggles of the rakyat during the tabling of Budget 2022.

"Specifically, we applaud the government for announcing the RM1.5 billion allocation to continue low-cost housing projects and the additional RM2 billion allocation to enable those without a stable income to own a home through the Housing Credit Guarantee Scheme under the Pemilikan Rumah Kediaman initiative," he said.


Undang-Undang Penafian / Dasar Privasi / Dasar Keselamatan
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