28/10/2020 05:51 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28  -- The National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) wants Budget 2021 to prioritise inclusivity in digital transformation for businesses across all sectors.

Its chairman, Danny Lee said the rise in COVID-19 cases brought an urgent need to support the transformation of traditional businesses into digitalisation and automation, as well as more focus on cybersecurity and connectivity. 

“The government should ensure information technology (IT) remains an essential service to all sectors, especially when digital economy has become Malaysia’s priority,” he said in a statement today.

Quoting the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), Lee said the contribution from the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to the economy continued to expand to RM289.2 billion in 2019, with a growth of 7.1 per cent, contributing 19.1 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP).

The Gross Value Added of the e-commerce industry registered an increase of RM127 billion in 2019, with a growth of 8.4 per cent compared with RM117.2 billion in 2018.

In terms of share to the GDP, DOSM stated that e-commerce for other industries contributed 6.2 per cent while e-commerce for the ICT industry contributed 2.2 per cent.

“Despite the steady growth, critical technological and digital migration among most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is low.

“Bigger financial support is needed to accelerate the adoption of digitalisation in next year’s budget,” he said, adding that there should be double tax deductions for companies and doubling of the relief amount for personal income tax for certified programmes to encourage upskilling and reskilling efforts for working professionals,” he said.

He said the waiver of sales and service tax for ICT products and services is also imperative for the sustainability and development of start-ups, as well as to ensure these companies thrive to the fullest potential.

Meanwhile, Lee expects the introduction of a fast track digitalisation programme for companies to embark on the adoption of the new normal to be considered in Budget 2021, especially for vulnerable sectors that are highly affected by the pandemic.

“Disbursement of incentives should be effective and simplified. Currently, the reach is limited to certain groups and some are uncertain of their eligibility to receive financial help. 

“At the same time, SMEs need to open themselves to new methods to remain resilient and strengthen sustainability. At the end of the day, we should ensure this transformation benefits everyone,” he said.

He added that continued support for emerging industries is equally important as these developments will maintain the momentum of economic recovery.

E-commerce, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, Internet of things, upskilling and reskilling technology systems are key economic drivers to assist in economic recovery, Lee said. 




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