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Malaysia’s Focus on Digital Growth and Innovation

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The growth of Malaysia’s gig economy in 2023, thriving amidst the normalisation of post-pandemic activities, showcases the nation’s evolving digital landscape, aided by incentives and growing awareness of digital potential, as highlighted in the country’s strategic initiatives outlined in Belanjawan 2024.

Malaysia’s aspirations to rank among the top startup hubs globally by 2030 are evident through initiatives like the MYStartup platform, backed by a RM 28 million allocation, aiming to unite startups and funding agencies. Kuala Lumpur’s 20th position in early-stage funding highlights its robust startup scene, further supported by enhanced access to resources via MYStartup.

Moreover, the government’s strategic investment of RM 510 million in R&D funding under MOSTI and MOHE aims to elevate Malaysia to the Top 30 in the Global Innovation Index by 2025. Another RM 76 million allocation supports R&D and commercialisation, fostering an innovation-driven culture and ensuring substantial returns on investment, aligning with the nation’s growth objectives.

In recognition of an increasingly interconnected digital landscape, Malaysia underscores the pivotal role of technology in fostering economic progress. The allocation of approximately RM 1.7 billion in Belanjawan 2024 toward diverse digital economy initiatives, particularly aimed at facilitating digital transformations among MSMEs, fostering growth in sectors like e-commerce, Digital Health, and Digital Content, and accelerating local startups, is commendable.

Embracing an inclusive approach to business digitalisation becomes vital to prevent non-digital enterprises from lagging amid rapid ICT advancements. These initiatives are pivotal in boosting productivity, fostering innovation, and cultivating new avenues for economic growth in Malaysia’s tech-driven and digitally robust landscape.

“Malaysia needs to move fast to lead the future, in line with the explosion of global digital transformation. Innovation and digital talent need to be empowered especially in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the country’s sustainable economic growth,” said YAB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister.

The thrust of Belanjawan 2024 centres on “Empowering the People,” as evident from its theme. With a notable allocation of approximately RM 3.2 billion for digital-oriented initiatives, excluding tax relief measures and committee setups, the government emphasises aligning efforts with Ekonomi Madani’s goal of enhancing the populace’s standard of living. Key highlights within this allocation prioritise Education & Talent, Cyber Threats, Sharing Economy, Women & Youth, and the National Digital ID, underscoring a dedicated focus on uplifting and fortifying various facets crucial to the welfare of the citizens.

Belanjawan 2024 introduces impactful funding and tax measures designed to invigorate economic growth and attract investments, particularly targeting sectors such as technology startups, Electronics and Electrical (E&E) industry, video game development, and Islamic finance. These strategic endeavours aim to enhance Malaysia’s global and regional competitiveness, positioning the nation for advancement on the economic stage.

The government’s focused efforts in various digital industries involve strategic funding allocations:

E-Commerce: A RM 40 million allocation for the Shop Malaysia Online Programme aims to support micro, small, and home-based businesses, especially in F&B and home enterprises. By collaborating with e-commerce and food delivery platforms, this initiative aims to boost sales, lower operating costs for small businesses, and incentivise e-commerce consumption.

Digital Content: RM 60 million from the Dana Kandungan Digital (Digital Content Fund) is directed towards fostering local content production in industries like animation, comics, and digital games. This investment seeks to promote original IP development and support content reflecting national values.

Digital Health: An allocation of RM 150 million targets the enhancement of the Ministry of Health’s information technology system, including providing Clinic Management System Subscription (CCMS) to 100 health clinics. This digital upgrade aims to streamline patient medical record management for improved care coordination.

Cybersecurity: Recognising the increasing digital landscape’s vulnerability, RM 60 million is directed to CyberSecurity Malaysia. The aim is to develop a 5G Cybersecurity Testing Framework and bolster local expertise in 5G technology, fortifying the nation.


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