Malaysia pivots digital economy with a caring and inclusive budget
By Digital News Asia October 30, 2017
- DFTZ will drive the participation of 1,500 SMEs into the digital economy
- Digital innovation will shape the next wave of economic development in this country
MICROSOFT Malaysia welcomes the 2018 National Budget which took a multi-pronged approach to creating and enabling an inclusive society.
“This rakyat-centric Budget outlines initiatives to leverage on the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital economy, underscoring its contribution to the country’s GDP. Along with the recent announcement of a ‘Cloud First’ strategy, and creation of a National Artificial Intelligence (Al) Framework, these are steps in the right direction to bolster the country’s strategic ICT thrust,” said Microsoft Malaysia managing director K Raman (pic, above).
A key touch point of the 2018 Budget is fortifying the Digital Economy, and implementation of the Malaysia Digital Policy will pave the way to strengthen it further.
“This is a very exciting time for Malaysia, as a growing digital economy needs a strong support structure and ecosystem to thrive. As businesses in Malaysia look for better and faster ways to leverage on the fourth industrial revolution and transform themselves, modern technologies such as cloud computing have a crucial role to play. We laud the government’s initiatives in this direction that will set the country apart as a key differentiator,” Raman added.
The budget also pays attention to upgrade of ICT equipment and communications systems which would be crucial for a strong digital infrastructure for our businesses.
Additionally, rebate on purchase of ICT equipment and software development will lower the barrier to entry for adoption of digital technology among SMEs and corporates, especially as we continue to advance digital workforce as a national agenda.
Microsoft is heartened and encouraged by the forward-looking initiatives in Budget 2018 that focus on future proofing the economy and empowering education, skill and talent development in the country, with an allocation of RM61.6 billion.
Najib highlighted the need for transformation in the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) to enhance the skills of our workforce. The creation of TVET Malaysia and grants towards the TVET Masterplan are a step in this direction.
This continued drive for quality education is commended by Microsoft Malaysia. Raman said, “At Microsoft, we are committed to leveraging technology’s role as an enabler, in providing 21st century education. We continue to partner the Government to enhance digital literacy and upskilling opportunities via coding, training of teachers and equipping students with the digital skills required to compete globally.”
Realising the significant contribution of the SMEs in the nation's growth and labour market, the Government has allocated RM200 million for training programmes, grants and soft loans for SMEs.
Microsoft Malaysia congratulates the government on their progressive approach in implementing these programmes, which would enhance the advancement of SMEs.
Shaping the future of Malaysia’s digital economy
Budget 2018 comes at a time where the country’s economy continues to strengthen.
“As the number 2 online marketplace in Malaysia, we are confident with the measures introduced by the government to expand digital initiatives under MDEC,” says 11street COO Chuljin Yoon (pic, above).
The development of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) hub in KLIA continues to help Malaysia edge closer to its digital economy vision, while improving the livelihood of Malaysians through growing job and entrepreneurship opportunities, and reduction of income tax for the M40 category.
Along with tax relief, incentive measures and the vision to make Malaysia a regional e-commerce hub, SMEs and e-commerce will continue to play a vital role achieving the digital economy vision of contributing 20% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020.
11street is confident that these measures will continue to cement a dynamic and strong digital economy for the country, allowing SMEs, online marketplaces and monobrands a holistic e-commerce trading experience.
One key observation is the investment into DFTZ that will drive the participation of 1,500 SMEs into digital economy, and attract investments of up to RM700 million, therefore creating an additional 2,500 jobs.
Furthermore, other initiatives are in place to help drive the adoption of e-commerce among SMEs, such as the recent DesaMall project by the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (Malaysia) in partnership with 11street, providing entrepreneurs a comprehensive e-commerce training development programme to upskill themselves.
To date, the B40 group has recorded the fastest growth in income and has contributed to 16.5% of the nation’s GDP.
Income tax reduction for the M40 category, anticipated to provide RM300 – RM1,000 of disposable income, will encourage consumers to hop aboard online marketplaces to purchase daily necessities.
Lastly, we laud the government’s support to continue growing the e-commerce market, enabling a thriving digital economy to shape the country’s future.
Capitalising on the internet economy
Trend Micro welcomes the announcement of allocations and amendments to encourage the digital economy under Budget 2018. These initiatives underline how Malaysia remains on the right track, and taking another step forward towards becoming a fully-developed digital economy.
According to Trend Micro Malaysia managing director Goh Chee Hoh (pic, right), the measures to strengthen Malaysia's commitment to the DFTZ will further invigorate the country’s e-commerce industry and enable local businesses to capitalise on the opportunities from the internet economy and cross-border activities.
This is also in line with Trend Micro’s continuous investment of resources and efforts in supporting this digital transformation growth in Malaysia.
With more Malaysian businesses making the shift to online and digital platforms, their exposure to vulnerabilities remain omnipresent. There is exponentially more data generated and shared across the ecosystem between partners, customers and the organisation. Balancing the opportunities of potential market growth while keeping security issues in check becomes more important than ever.
Opportunities for Malaysian businesses
Malaysia's 2018 budget reflects the government's focus on innovation, digitisation, smart manufacturing and propelling the nation towards becoming a key player in The Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“We are excited about the proposed measures that translate to greater opportunities for Malaysian businesses and organisations to help evolve and navigate the digital economy,” says CA Technologies Asean and Greater China vice president Nick Lim (pic, right).
The digital economy has raised customers' expectations and brought disruption to every industry. Businesses today are realising the need to deliver exceptional experience by responding to their customers' needs with greater agility and speed.
Software needs to be at the core of every organisation’s DNA as it enables them to transform digitally and take full advantage of mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data and other technologies.
It is crucial for companies to integrate software into all aspects of their operations. This will require agility across the business, and a mindset shift in how businesses use technology and build software to deliver unique value to their customers.
“As more Malaysian businesses move to online and digital platforms, the exposure to security vulnerabilities will increase. We urge businesses to prioritise their organizations’ security efforts, by incorporating security at the start of their digital transformation journey as a core technology enabler rather than bolted on as an IT afterthought.
“This will ultimately boost their customers’ confidence with greater user experiences that are reliable, secure, trustworthy and seamless,” says Lim.
Supporting local SMEs
Lazada Malaysia applauds the government’s continuous efforts in improving Malaysia’s e-commerce industry, especially with the allocation of RM83.5 million for the first phase of the DFTZ at KLIA. This is expected to further spur the growth of local SMEs.
“As the number one online shopping and selling destination in Malaysia, we are committed in supporting our local SMEs and helping them build their e-commerce businesses. Through our #EveryoneCanSell programme, sellers will enjoy full access to e-commerce training, easier business registration, enhanced internet connectivity with online tools and solutions, as well as financial support through loan financing and exclusive merchant accounts.
“We hope to boost SMEs’ capabilities when they capitalise on #EveryoneCanSell’s holistic digital ecosystem, so they remain competitive online,” says Lazada Malaysia chief executive officer Hans-Peter Ressel (pic, right).
Efforts to digitise manufacturing
Malaysia’s Budget 2018 is a step in the right direction for the nation’s digital journey thanks to the great emphasis on efforts to digitise the manufacturing sector.
This marks the country’s pivotal shift from a labour-driven economy to a more knowledge-driven society. The rise of the fourth Industrial revolution is definitely upon us.
With the measures under Budget 2018, Cisco believes that Malaysian manufacturers will be better positioned to capitalise on the upcoming opportunities brought upon by digitisation.
“In its nascent stage, the combination of tax reliefs and grant allocation Smart Manufacturing facilities will incentivise more manufacturers to adopt new technologies such as automation, Big Data Analytics and robotics,” says Cisco Malaysia managing director Albert Chai (pic, above).
Digital innovation will shape the next wave of economic development in this country. But at the heart of this transformation is the people.
“I am particularly excited about the various measures aimed at developing a workforce that is future-ready. Of particular interest is the RM250 million allocation to educate the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) generation which encompasses the setting up of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres and improving Computer Science modules, including Coding programmes,” says Chai.
A boost for the logistics sector
Driving greater value for logistics in the wake of even greater digital connectivity
Malaysia’s Budget 2018 introduced a series of exciting initiatives that will definitely bring further growth to Malaysia’s economy.
“We are encouraged by the RM83.5 million allocated in the budget for the first phase of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) that is expected to further boost the growth of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“This serves as a great opportunity for SMEs to expand abroad and tap into regional markets in addition to creating strategic partnerships with key organisations such as international trade facilitators,” explained DHL Express Malaysia & Brunei managing director Christopher Ong (pic, right).