“Greater ICT Focus Wanting”
Some positive steps in Budget 2016 but more holistic approach required in addressing industry challenges
In response to Budget 2016, which was announced earlier today, the National the ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM), welcomes some of the positive steps taken by the Government with regards to GST and broadband as well as to spur innovation and entrepreneurship.
However, the Association believes that Budget 2016 could have been more effective by adopting a more holistic approach towards addressing the needs and challenges of the ICT sector.
“PIKOM welcomes the Government’s decision to allow prepaid consumers to enjoy rebates up to the GST equivalent incurred when purchasing reload packages. But this is still a far cry from our more comprehensive recommendation to make all ICT products and services zero rated.
“It is good that that there is GST exemption for teaching tools for skills and vocational training. But would this also be extended to ICT related teaching tools? We hope to see further clarification on this and it is hoped that GST exemption could also be extended to those who also pursue ICT related training and development courses.
“While there were several measures targeted at addressing rising cost of living, PIKOM would have liked to see some of those measures include the purchase of ICT products and services. These are necessities that everyone uses and providing some form of subsidy or relief would have gone a long way in helping the man on the street.
“We laud the Government for heeding the call to increase Internet speeds to 20Mbps and to improve the National fibre digital infrastructure. However, speed must come with affordability; an area where Malaysia is lagging behind its regional peers. Without affordability, provision of higher speeds will not be very effective.
With regard to spurring innovation, PIKOM welcome the tax deductions for R & D initiatives as well as the allocation to various government bodies such as MDV, Inovasi and MaGIC to spur greater innovation within the country. The SME transformation technology fund will encourage SMEs to embrace ICT and move up the technological chain. The green technology fund is also a step in the right direction.
In addition, the digitisation of national broadcasting service in country will spur the creation of more content, increase in choices for consumers and better quality transmission to the home and offices.
E-Rezeki is also a welcomed moved to create a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurs and start-ups that will spur innovation and generate income in line with our aspirations for a high-income economy.
We look forward to greater clarify on these as well as the Government’s progress on the TPPA which has been stated will be presented in Parliament soon. The Association also hopes to see further clarification given on several areas. This includes the Cyber City Centre, Malaysia Vision Valley and Aeropolis KLIA projects which are likely to be beneficial to the ICT industry, be it directly or indirectly.
Cheah Kok Hoong