Malaysia’s 2022 budget has tech bright spots, but not so future-forward

Malaysia 2022 budget
Image by natatravel | Bigstockphoto

Following the publication of Malaysia’s 2022 budget, the National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) noted no significant announcements for the tech community and did not promise a transformative impact on the nation.

A rundown by Digital News Asia notes that despite this concluding remark from Pikom, chairman Danny Lee also pointed out some of the budget’s bright spots. He praised the extraordinary RM2,500 tax relief for the purchase of mobile phones, computers, and tablets and tax deductions of up to RM7,000 for courses dedicated to building the capacity of Malaysians.

According to Lee, there is an urgency to reskill and upskill Malaysians to meet the increasing demand for skilled talent. With the help of the tax deductions, Malaysia’s JaminKerja efforts to create 600,000 job opportunities will be accelerated.

Karl Loo, the founder of blue-collar startup ServisHero, said that there is potential in the country’s 2022 budget, which has committed to innovation and the nurturing of startups in a digital-first post-pandemic economy.

“As our lives become more digital, startups will play a critical part in developing solutions that are relevant to the local market. Budget 2022’s allocation into both Technology Park Malaysia’s IR 4.0 Innovation Hub and Cradle’s MyStartup Strategy will help establish important locally developed innovations,” he added.

The MyStartup Strategy is designed to encourage the growth of new startups and provide a single platform for the startup community, which presently includes 2,500 businesses. Rafiza Ghazali, group CEO of MyStartup Strategy, explained that the money would support startups to become competitive locally and globally.

Malaysia’s country manager for Red Hat, Eric Quah, said the government is making long-term investments to prepare for Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) and embrace the global digital economy as part of its mission to become a smart nation.

“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 modernization,” he said.

Goh Chee Hog, managing director of Trend Micro Malaysia and Nascent Countries, expressed his satisfaction with the government’s decision to invest up to RM700 million in better internet connection across 47 industrial sites and 630 schools.

However, Goh emphasized that the government’s cybersecurity posture should also be improved. According to him, this is especially significant when recent security incidents demonstrate that cybersecurity is a high-priority infrastructure issue.

“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 Pikom, who also noted in 2020 that the 2021 budget was not a game-changer.

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