In case you missed it, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul had announced Budget 2022, outlining Malaysia’s plan for the upcoming year. Highlights include free tablets for B40 university students, a full tax exemption for electronic vehicles and the allocation of RM300 million to be distributed to the eWallets of 2 million youths.
And while Malaysians everywhere will have different reactions to the Budget 2022 announcement, we’ve also gotten reactions and commentaries on the budget for next year from some of the tech industry’s biggest players. So far, it appears as though Tengku Zafrul’s plan as been relatively well received by them.
As the largest telecommunications company in Malaysia, it might be pleasing to note that TM seems pleased with the Budget 2022 announcement. In their reaction statement, TM CEO Imri Mokhtar applauded the budget which they called inclusive, and highlighted their commitment to the government’s digital initiatives.
“As the enabler of Digital Malaysia and building on its existing 640,000 km of fiber network nationwide, TM is committed towards the Government’s digital initiatives encompassing Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) and the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL). As the only home-based Malaysian Cloud Service Provider (CSP), we are committed and ready to play our role in accelerating the Government’s digital transformation under the MyDIGITAL agenda with our 8 data centres, cloud platform and cybersecurity solutions.” – Imri Mokhtar, Telekom Malaysia
Imri Mokhtar continued on, commending the government’s plans to empower businesses via the various financial assistance programs announcement. Meanwhile, as TM is a GLC, he added that they will provide its full support to the Jalinan GLC initiative to help accelerate Malaysia’s economic recovery.
BMW Group Malaysia
With one of the key policies of Tengku Zafrul being the full tax exemption for electric vehicles and a RM2,500 personal tax relief for these EV charging facilities, it’s no wonder then that the BMW Group Malaysia are somewhat happy with the Budget 2022 announcement.
Hans de Visser, the Managing Director of BMW Group Malaysia, welcomed the initiative towards electrified mobility, and highlighted that as the leading provider of premium EVs in the country, they share the same vision for electrified mobility in Malaysia. de Visser was also happy to see the incentivisation and support for the development of the EV industry in Malaysia, and looks forward to next year with their new fleet of next-generation BMW I electric vehicles.
“We remain committed to driving initiatives for innovation, awareness on new and clean technology, and developing more infrastructure for premium electrified vehicles in Malaysia. As before, we have consistently unveiled innovations and initiated collaborations with key stakeholders to ensure a functioning ecosystem for electromobility to thrive in.
On this note, we welcome the newly announced allocations in Budget 2022 that will further drive this shared vision for electrified mobility forward. We celebrate with Malaysia on the latest announcement of full exemptions on import duties, excise duties, and sales tax for electric vehicles – which will not only increase uptake but encourage further development of the EV infrastructure and ecosystem to drive Smarter, Low Carbon Communities and Cities in the country.” – Hans de Visser, BMW Group Malaysia
While we had previously highlighted the more tech-oriented policies from the Budget 2022 announcement, another area where there were a number of big plans in store is housing. Among them was the allocation of RM1.5 billion for low-cost housing projects with a further RM2 billion to help those without stable income following the pandemic to own a home via the Housing Credit Guarantee Scheme.
PropertyGuru Malaysia Country Manager Sheldon Fernandez commends the government for these initiatives that focus on recovery and help mitigate the people’s struggles during the Budget 2022 tabling. According to Fernandez, 46% of Malaysians face difficulties in securing home loans due to the down payment costs and unstable income. As such, the aforementioned policies will help tackle the issues potential homebuyers face, encouraging homeownership is a systematic and inclusive manner.
Furthermore, during the Budget 2022 announcement it was revealed that the government will be removing the real property gains tax (RPGT) on properties that are being sold after its sixth year of ownership. This is again another move that Fernandez commends, stating:
“In addition, the government’s move to no longer impose Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) on
properties that are disposed from the sixth year onwards is laudable, as we believe this would not
only help to decrease the burden of non-speculative property holders, it will also help to stimulate the
property market by encouraging the buying and selling of residential properties.” – Sheldon Fernandez, PropertyGuru Malaysia
Overall, Fernandez and PropertyGuru Malaysia appear pleased with the Budget 2022 plans and state that they look forward to supporting the government’s efforts in helping Malaysians own a home.
Red Hat Malaysia
Red Hat, the company behind the well known Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, joins the club of industry giants looking forward to 2022 following the Budget 2022. Eric Quah, Country Manager for Red Hat Malaysia, highlights the need to fast track our move into a golden age for our digital economy, and so acknowledges the recognition and steps taken to do so in the latest budget announcement.
“The Malaysian government is fortifying the country with strategic investments to be ready for Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) and to welcome the global digital economy. We applaud the government’s commitment to expand 5G services to 36% of high-density areas including major cities in Johor, Selangor, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak in 2022.
This commitment, tied with the investment of 30 billion ringgit through government-linked companies (GLCs) under the Perkukuh Pelaburan Rakyat (PERKUKUH) initiative, will be critical to Malaysia’s transition to 5G and infrastructure modernization.” – Eric Quah, Red Hat Malaysia
Quah adds that they see the new budget as a great opportunity for themselves to further accelerate and power their digital journey with their customers throughout Malaysia. With 5G especially important as the foundation for innovation, Quah believes that 5G will drive the internet-of-things industry with its low latency and high bandwidth network towards bigger and better things.
Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy Southeast Asia welcomes the initiatives and policies included in the Budget 2022 that targeted the Malaysian tourism industry. Following a rough couple of years, Goh says she’s heartened to hear that the government will be looking to provide support for the tourism sector next year.
“We applaud the Government’s introduction of the Malaysia Digital Nomad Program to build a national ecosystem and community of digital nomads as a catalyst for tourism recovery. Airbnb is a platform of choice for digital nomads globally, who look for unique getaways with top-notch remote work amenities. We believe that we are entering a new era where travel and living are increasingly blurring, and that the Malaysia Digital Nomad Program marks a progressive and exciting way forward for tourism in the country.” – Mich Goh, Airbnb
Furthermore, with funds of RM1.6 billion having been allocated for tourism rejuvenation efforts, Goh and Airbnb are pleased with the Budget 2022 tabling and highlight the RM60 million in particular that will be used to promote domestic tourism, as well as the RM1,000 tax relief incentive for locals to spend during domestic travels next year.
Cybersecurity firm Trend Micro is yet another who has reacted to Tengku Zafrul’s latest Budget plans. Goh Chee Hoh, the Managing Director of Trend Micro Malaysia, appreciates the Budget 2022 and its intent to maximise the potential of Malaysia’s digital economy and the JENDELA project in particular. He praises the RM700 million allocation to improve connectivity, but highlights that more can be done too in strengthening Malaysia’s cybersecurity.
“While it is laudable that the Defense Ministry has been allocated RM16 billion to fortify our national borders, efforts should also go into strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity stance. This is especially critical when security-related incidents in recent times illustrate cybersecurity as a key infrastructure priority.”
Goh adds that with more and more people adopting eCommerce and mobile devices into our lives, there’s an increasing concern about data privacy, with breaches data breaches and unauthorised sharing of personal information becoming more common. As such, he urges the government to continue enhancing cybersecurity regulations and privacy protection policies as a further deterrent towards any malicious activities.
According to Datuk Abdul Farid Alias, the Maybank Group President and CEO, he notes that it’ll be vital for Budget 2022 to create opportunities for both individuals and businesses especially during an important transition period into a recovering economy.
“The enhancements to cash aids, welfare payments and the social security system help to ensure the wellbeing of lower income households, vulnerable segments of the society, self-employed and informal sector workers who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
These are complemented with measures to improve the labour market conditions and reduce unemployment rate such as the extension and expansion of hiring incentives, job creation initiatives as well as skills and industrial training programmes.” – Datuk Abdul Farid Alias, Maybank
Moreover, Datuk Abdul Farid hopes to see the RM40 billion allocated for grants and loans towards businesses will help support Malaysia’s industry as the economy reopens. As for the banks, he welcomes the expansion in housing credit guarantee and micro credit schemes to workers and businesses in informal sectors. Lastly, he likes the balanced approach towards infrastructure spending and investment laid out in the Budget 2022.
K. Raman, the Microsoft Malaysia Managing Director, firstly welcomes the government’s efforts in crafting a budget that included the insights and suggestions from all key stakeholders, including the private sector. He thanked the public sector for their work during the pandemic, and appreciates the government’s plan to encourage cloud computing in the public sector.
“We welcome the government’s Digital First Programme to encourage the usage of cloud computing in the public sector. The world around us has changed, and a reform of public sector services is needed to meet the demands of a technologically savvy rakyat.
The pandemic has also shone a spotlight on the importance of agility and flexibility in the public sector, and the adoption of Cloud technology will not only reduce the need for physical infrastructures, but also provide an ideal platform to immediately respond to future crises whilst simultaneously enhancing the quality of services provided to the public.” – K. Raman, Microsoft Malaysia
On top of that, Raman is optimistic about the future of education in Malaysia, as he notes the RM52.6 billion and RM14.5 billion going towards the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education respectively. He also hopes to see the investment help in digitising the education sector while also enhancing the quality of education, especially in situations where remote learning remains the only option.
Meanwhile, Raman also recognises the importance of small and medium enterprises following the tough couple of years in a pandemic, and embraces the government’s commitment towards boosting digital transformation among these SMEs. Another aspect of the Budget 2022 that pleased Raman was the acknowledgement of the critical role of women in our economy, and says Microsoft Malaysia is fully behind the RM5 million allocation towards empowering women, and extends their support via their own Code Without Barriers initiative.
Overall, Raman is happy to see that Budget 2022 provides a comprehensive strategy in accelerating Malaysia’s economic recovery and growth while also recognising the role that digitisation plays. He closes by stating his full support for Malaysia in its journey towards sustainability too, and wants to share their learnings in their own goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030 with others in the public and private sector.
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