Budget 2017: Good news for broadband users, entrepreneurs, digital economy and more

  • Broadband service providers will offer services at a higher speed for same price
  • Plan to introduce the first Digital Free Zone in the world
Budget 2017: Good news for broadband users, entrepreneurs, digital economy and more
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak (third from left) before tabling the Budget 2017 in the parliament

THE national Budget 2017 tabled today in Parliament by Malaysia Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak has a slew of incentives for entrepreneurs, the startup community, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and even broadband subscribers.
 
For 2017, Najib is proposing a total allocation of US$62.4 billion (RM260.8 billion) – of which US$51.4 billion (RM214.8 billion) is allocated for operating expenditure and US$11 billion (RM46 billion) for development expenditure.
 
The RM260.8 billion allocation is also 3.4% higher than the 2016 Budget recalibration. It does not include contingencies which amounts to RM2 billion.

Broadband goodies
During the Budget 2017 announcement, Najib announced that Malaysians will be able to get better value from their broadband plans starting next year.
 
“I’m pleased to announce effective January 2017, fixed line broadband service providers will offer services at a higher speed for the same price.
 
“For example, a subscriber of 5 megabytes per second package at RM149 will enjoy a package with twice the speed, which is 10 megabytes per second.
 
“Within the next two years, for this package, the speed will be doubled with the reduction in prices by 50%,” he said.
 
At the same time, he added that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will provide RM1 billion to ensure the coverage and quality of broadband nationwide reaches up to 20Mbps.
 
It will also be providing free tablets to assist teaching to 430,000 teachers with an allocation of RM340 million (or under RM800 per tablet).

Digital economy goodies
There are more activities planned in 2017 for the Malaysian digital economy with national ICT custodian, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) set to have a busy 2017, as several initiatives are planned under the MDEC banner.
 
Among them, is that the government plans to revitalize the eUsahawan and eRezeki programmes comprising 300,000 participants with an allocation of RM100 million.
 
“Through MDEC, a sum of RM162 million is allocated to implement programmes such as e-commerce ecosystem and Digital Maker Movement as well as the introduction of new location category as Malaysia Digital Hub,” said Najib.
 
He also announced the intention to introduce the first Digital Free Zone in the world. It will merge physical and virtual zones with additional online and digital services to facilitate international e-commerce and invigorate Internet-based innovation. He did not elaborate further on the Digital Free Zone.
 
Incentives and allocation for startups, entrepreneurs and SMEs
The Prime Minister also said that a total of RM200 million from the Working Capital Guarantee Scheme (WCGS) Fund will be allocated to startups.
 
Also, to encourage investment in high technology startups, a new pass category, namely Foreign Knowledge Tech Entrepreneurs will be introduced he said without elaborating on what this actually means. 
 
As part of the country’s plan to promote the development of SMEs, the government will be allocating RM75 million to implement programmes under SME Master Plan.
  
Related Stories:

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Budget 2017: Pikom asks for zero rate GST, EPF withdrawals to purchase ICT products
 

 
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