According to PIKOM, the Budget 2021 which was tabled on the 6th of November is a continuation of various programmes that are currently ongoing during the recovery phase of Covid-19.
In a statement, PIKOM Chairman, Danny Lee said that the budget seems too focused on the Covid-19 recovery process, which has already started in June. Therefore, what is being laid out is not a game changer for Malaysia as it lacks longer-term economic transformation impetus.
However, PIKOM applauds the focus and allocation of RM27 million for cybersecurity programs as it is as integral part of the digital transition under the Malaysian Digital Economy roadmap in collaboration with the private sectors. In addition to that, the budget of RM100 million for MDEC to upskill existing work force in the tech industry will complement the HRDF Penjana Initiative that is currently ongoing till 2022.
Another RM100 million has also been allocated for reskilling and upskilling programs in partnership with the industry associations. This will continue to positively impact employability.
Under Penjana HRDF initiative, PIKOM brings along 100 member-companies and training providers to run more than 13 tech-related programs for new employees to fit the demands of new skilled talents in the industry. This includes IOT, Data Analytics, ecommerce, RPA and Cybersecurity to name a few.
Hence, PIKOM foresees a boost in electronic and IT device purchases with the additional lifestyle allowance increase to RM3000 which will help boost IT purchase. The move for GLC to contribute RM150 million for the purchase of laptops for 150,000 students in 500 schools under the CERDIK fund is also welcomed.
The National Tech Association of Malaysia also views positively the shot in the arm given to Equity Crowd Funding (ECF) which will play a catalytic role in the start-up scene. Continued funding for digital transformation is also a boon which would provide a continued momentum to companies embarking on their digital journey. The focus on e-commerce and e-wallets while commendable may not have been sufficiently wide enough to cover all segments of society.
The tech industry hopes the government continues to see IT as essential and strategize on longer term economic recovery plans, this could be considered should there be any additional budget requisition next year.