New Straits Times
10 October 2022
#TECH: Budget less focus on technology and innovation – Pikom
Dr Sean Seah
PETALING JAYA: PIKOM, the National Tech Association of Malaysia commends the Government for presenting a budget that included efforts in talent development, entrepreneurship growth and strengthening the digital space.
According to its chairman Dr Sean Seah, "For the tech industry to strive as the enabler for digital growth, there is an absolute need to ensure the workforce is capable to meet industry skills and changing job demands. The RM750million allocation to upskill up to 800,000 talents, we can expect the emphasis on tech-related training courses to help not just talents in the tech industry, but across all industries to be future ready."
The association also applauds the RM305 million in loans for youths to start businesses and the announcement of a RM10 billion fund via Bank Negara Malaysia for automation, digitisation, tourism and agriculture for the SMEs. There is also a guarantee limit up to RM9 billion through the Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan to make it easier for SMEs to get financing for their respective businesses.
"Our members also consist of SMEs that are constantly looking at ways to remain competitive and relevant. These benefits will help encourage more SMEs to invest in upgrading their businesses in order to sustain and grow," said Seah.
PIKOM members consist of more than 1,000 corporate members in the digital, innovation and technology sectors, with more than 150,000 employees who are in constant need to undergo upscaling and upskilling programmes to meet future ready tasks.
There was also recognition of the changing milieu of society and the economy with the allocations for digital nomads, start-ups and tech innovation. The RM50 million budget for Cradle gains to assist businesses in many ways, especially in digitalisation is good.
PIKOM said the continuation for JENDELA in 2023 with RM1.3 billion by implementing digital connectivity and expanding 5G network nationwide to cover 70 per cent of highly populated areas as well funding for digital content budgeted at RM102million will impact the potential growth of the space-tech industry.
Despite this, it was expecting more focus on long term economic strategies to prepare the nation for digital transformation to drive sustainable and equitable economic growth. Budget allocations for ecommerce and cybersecurity could have been more significant and digital transformation funding made available to a wider segment of businesses.
"While we feel there is some focus given to SMEs and employment, there is also a need to complement these with the right infrastructure for businesses to operate as comprehensive as possible, equipped with future ready talents and providing end-to-end sales and services to the market. We feel there is a gap somewhere in between and we hope this can be addressed as we face new challenges of the business and economic climate next year," said Seah.