Budget 2020 drives digital transformation


Surina Shukri

KUCHING: Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) observes that the recently announced Budget 2020 marks an inflection point in the government’s steering of the digital economy.

In MDEC’s reaction piece on Budget 2020, MDEC’s chief executive officer Surina Shukri commented: “In our view, Budget 2020 marks an inflection point in the Government’s steering of the Digital Economy.

“We are turbo-charging Malaysia to become a nation driven by technology and innovation by building world-class infrastructures, investing in people and ecosystems, as well as implementing various catalytic industry programs and initiatives. Budget 2020 has fueled new energy for us at MDEC.”

She added, “As the lead agency for Digital Economy, we are determined and committed to realise the vision of a Digital Malaysia. We believe 2020 will bring the best benefits of the Digital Economy and Shared Prosperity to all Malaysians.”

MDEC also pointed out that under the 2020 Budget helmed ‘Driving Growth And Equitable Outcomes Towards Shared Prosperity’, all these allocations would empower the digital economy initiatives championed by MDEC and would directly support the recently launched Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030.

“The digital transformation agenda for Malaysia continues to be a major catalytic driver for the nation’s economy. We are encouraged to note this Budget 2020 includes proposals, which will further accelerate Malaysia’s rapidly-maturing digital economy,” Surina said.

The Government is also actively encouraging more local businesses to move rapidly into the technology sphere. In line with this, a new programme – 100 Go Digital – has been launched to enable traditional Malaysian businesses to embrace digitalisation.

Under the budget allocation, MDEC would also continue to manage and improve its Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme (DTAP). Launched approximately a year ago, it offers Malaysian companies a structured approach to digital transformation. This is to help mid-tier companies and large corporations achieve increased productivity, reduce foreign labour dependency, and create a new source of growth or business model.

“We are also pleased to note the allocation of RM70 million to build 14 one-stop Digital Enhancement Centres (DEC).

“This initiative will strengthen the nation’s position as the region’s tech and digital hub as it will facilitate access to financing and capacity building for businesses, specifically for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This will be achieved through assisting Malaysian businesses that are keen to embrace digital transformation, in line with Fourth Industry Revolution (4thIR).

“The DEC network, which will also support the expansion of the 100 Go Digital programme, will facilitate capacity building for SMEs as they will have immediate access to advisory services, enhancement training, and direct financing, including grants,” said Surina.

Aside from that, the Government has also allocated RM20 million towards creating a conducive, inclusive, and competitive Digital Content Ecosystem.

“The allocation RM20 million represents another wonderful opportunity for all Malaysians and talented content creators from around the world to continue to build on that success.

“This move reinforces the confidence that we, as a nation, have for the creative content industry. By increasing opportunities to participate in this industry, Malaysia can, and will, step up its competitive efforts in this space and push the nation as the destination for digital content production. This will also send a vital signal to the region and the global digital content industry that Malaysia is both serious and committed to develop world class animation, games, visual effects, and digital content platforms.   “This will directly leverage off the Malaysia’s strong position as the regional hub for the creative content industry as it continues to locally produce world-class intellectual properties in animation and games. To-date, this includes Boboiboy, Upin & Ipin, No Straight Roads, CryptantCrab, and Re:Legend just to name a few,” she added.

Malaysia’s digital creative industry is now a regional powerhouse that has the potential to become a global leader.

“The digital content industry has become a fast-growing export sector for Malaysia, generating RM1.3 billion in exports at a 28 per cent compound annual growth rate since 2014. In fact, Malaysia ranks at #21 in global game revenue, with estimates for 2018 at US$654 million; ahead of Netherlands and Poland,” Surina pointed out.

With that, MDEC will champion the DICE (Digital Content Ecosystem) 2020-2030 policy. It is a comprehensive paper that MDEC developed for the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) with the goal of fortifying the local digital content industry and, ultimately, and positioning the nation as a leader in digital content creation/production.

On the Digital Social Responsibility, MDEC welcomes the announcement  as it enables companies that have made significant strides in the digital industry to give back to Malaysia to spur digital adoption or digital entrepreneurship among Malaysians.

“We would define it as a commitment, made by businesses and individuals that contribute to inclusive equitable and sustainable digital economic development. This also includes improving the digital skills of the workforce, reducing waste and increasing energy efficiency,” MDEC added.

In Budget 2020, the Government also set aside RM10 million for MDEC to train micro-digital entrepreneurs and technology experts to leverage e-market places and social media platforms.

“The new allocation will allow us to further drive entrepreneurship and innovation to greater heights, bringing the positive impact of technology to more Malaysians, creating a more digitally inclusive nation,” Surina said.

Beyond providing avenues for businesses to make that digital leap, the general public needs more encouragement for digital adoption.

“The announcement of a one-off RM30 credit for e-wallets, will spur the development of a cashless society. It will be given to all Malaysians who are earning less than RM100,000 annually,” MDEC commented.