Digital Malaysia lauds Budget 2019 measures


Suresh Sidhu

KUCHING: e-Commerce, tech and logistics players are generally positive on the series of proposed policies and investments for the development of Industry 4.0, as announced during National Budget 2019 on Friday.

Measures such as the ‘Industry Digitalisation Transformation Fund’, ‘National Fiber Connectivity Plan’ and other policies will not only boost the growth of Malaysia’s digital economy but aid small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well.

“Belanjawan 2019 reflects the government’s ambition of building a digitally connected nation through the National Fiber Connectivity Plan.

“We laud their commitment to enable greater connectivity throughout the nation and efforts to develop the country’s infrastructure for broadband,” said edotco Group Sd Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) Suresh Sidhu.

He added: “As operators continue to connect fiber to homes, there is also a need to extend fiber to other infrastructures in Malaysia, especially if we want to be 5G-ready.

“With approximately just 30 to 40 per cent of towers in the country integrated with fiber, it is crucial that we ensure we are equipped with the right telecommunication infrastructure.

Christophe Lejeune

“To meet price and speed aspirations we need to encourage more infrastructure sharing and adoption of fixed wireless access. The current tower infrastructure is still relatively under fiberised.

“Funds can be used to promote connectivity, which has a more immediate impact on access and speed, especially in rural areas.

“At edotco, we look forward to partnering the government in driving Malaysia’s vision to provide high-speed internet access to all, in tandem with the positive measures outlined in Belanjawan 2019.”

Meanwhile, e-Commerce platform, Lazada Malaysia, welcomed the government’s efforts to further drive the digital economy forward and bring more entrepreneurs nationwide into the digital space.

“The allocation of RM4.5 billion with 60 per cent guarantee of SJPP (Skim Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan) to commercially finance SMEs resonates with our commitment to empower local sellers in growing their businesses.

“We also applaud the government’s decision to reduce fixed line broadband prices by the end of 2018 and allocate RM1 billion for the National Fibre Connectivity Plan to boost internet connectivity in rural areas within five years,” said Lazada Malaysia’s CEO Christophe Lejeune.

Ooi Chooi Lee

He pointed out that rural connectivity is essential to grow the next generation of rural entrepreneurs from previously unconnected areas.

“With this programme, we can help uplift more entrepreneurs, increase rural buyers’ access to cheaper online products and in turn improve their welfare,” he added.

“Budget 2019 presents an exciting milestone for Malaysia and we will continue to work alongside the Government to uplift more digital entrepreneurs and enable Malaysians make the most of their ringgit,” Christophe commented.

As for logistics companies that are also involved in the last-mile delivery for the e-Commerce industry, DHL Express Malaysia believed that the policies and investments announced for Budget 2019 could contribute to a positive growth outlook for the nation, especially through the support of local SMEs.

“We are encouraged by the focus the government has placed in stimulating growth for SMEs. Initiatives such as the RM 2 billion worth of and takaful facilities by EXIM bank; RM100 million to upgrade the capability of the SMEs in the SME halal export industry; and RM1 billion for the SME Shariah Compliant Financing Scheme; will aid more SMEs to increase competitiveness in an increasingly challenging business environment.

Albert Chai

“Local SMEs should look at optimising these facilities to broaden their horizons beyond the local market and explore opportunities to export their product to the international market.

“DHL Express has seen first-hand the benefits that a local SME can reap from exporting their products overseas,” commented its head of commercial, Ooi Chooi Lee.

Echoing this view, tech company Cisco Malaysia, commended measures such as the Industry Digitalisation Transformation Fund as well as the Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to help SMEs invest in automation and modernisation.

Managing director Albert Chai said: “Overall, our first budget by the new government is a landmark in itself and we applaud the significant emphasis on our B40 constituents which make up the bulk of our workforce and driver of our digital future in the in the country.”

Meanwhile, cybersecurity solutions company Trend Micro, noted that as Malaysia embarks on its journey to develop its digital economy, it urged businesses to be ready in terms of its cybersecurity.

Goh Chee Hoh

“As our nation continues to embark on a digital transformation journey, we must remember that cybersecurity makes a crucial component in enabling innovations.

“In the Industry 4.0 era, enterprises not only need to worry about the usual business disrupters such as natural disasters, adverse publicity, and loss of key personnel among others, but also increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats targeting critical infrastructure and the smart devices that we use to virtually control them.

“We urge businesses to regard cybersecurity as a prerequisite to capture the potential value enabled by digitisation.

“It is recommended that organisations start taking a more integrated approach to security to mitigate future risks while staying abreast of the latest in cybersecurity,” said Trend Micro Malaysia’s managing director Goh Chee Hoh.