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New incentives needed to encourage development of digital economy

Last update: 09/10/2019
An exclusive report by Mohd Faizal Hassan

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 -- Telecommunications industry players believe that there is a need for new incentives to promote the digital economy in the Budget 2020 presentation this Friday.

Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) Chairman Datin Mohana Mohariff said she hoped there would be incentives for online businesses and entrepreneurs to encourage the advancement and growth of the digital economy.

“Among the incentives that can be recommended is the incentive for online SMEs which offer employment opportunities to get tax exemptions at certain rates.

"Indirectly, this initiative will help stimulate the industry and at the same time increase employment opportunities for the people," she told Bernama recently.

Mohana said providing tax incentives to telecommunications service providers and consumers could also encourage citizen participation in the digital technology and economy such as providing a RM800 tax rebate per year for fixed broadband subscriptions to consumers.

A telecommunications industry activist, Maficomm Resources Sdn Bhd Executive Chairman Romlan Sarpin said the government needed to subsidise high-speed internet access to residential areas and higher education institutions.

He said this would allow target groups such as families and students to enjoy high-speed internet access for daily use and education and business purposes, at home, while curbing unhealthy activities such as hanging out at fast food restaurants and coffee shops late into the night.

Romlan said that these subsidies, in addition to the one-month free internet access, can also ease communication gap for residents of rural areas.

Meanwhile, Maficomm Resources Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Mahadhir Mahideen said problems in accessing high-speed internet access in the country could have stemmed due to congestion following sharing of telecommunication towers.

Mahadhir said one of the solutions to the problem is to share the responsibility of building towers, instead of just making it the responsibility of telecommunication companies alone.

“It will reduce the burden, expand and intensify internet coverage and online communication without the congestion and connection problems. It is time for this issue to be resolved for all,” he said.

The 2020 Budget will be tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng this Friday.

-- BERNAMA





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