KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood lauded Budget 2018's focus on accelerating growth and enhancing the well being of the rakyat in addition to further enhancing Digital Malaysia.
Among the initiatives in the budget highlighted by MDEC, she noted that the RM100mil allocation for the eRezeki and eUsahawan programmes would ensure that the Digital Economy continues to be inclusive for the well-being of the rakyat, and in particular the B40 and M40 groups.
"With both programmes going into their third year, we estimate that 150,000 rakyat would be trained in 2018; resulting in 341,745 rakyat participating in both programmes with an estimated total income and revenue of RM544 million according to calculations," she said.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics centres and computer sicence modules will be developed via the RM250mil allocation to the future education of the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) generation.
Yasmin noted that this allocation will expose Malaysian student to the #mydigitalmaker education initiative, which aims to promote the youth community to become digital producers and innovators.
She also described as "visionary" the government's initiative to assist startups by allocating RM1bil from major institutions towards venture capital investments in selected sectors.
The initiatives include income tax exemption being widened to include management and performance fees, as well as a reduction in minimum investment limit in a venture company from 70% to 50% from 2018 to 2022.
Companies or individuals investing in venture capital companies will be given a tax deduction equivalent to the amount of their investments, which will be limited to a maximum of RM20mil per year.
Income tax exemptions equivalent to the amount of investments by angel investors in venture companies will be extended until Dec 31, 2020.
Yasmin noted that the budget has made allocations towards the "Fourth Industrial Revolution".
Grants worth RM245mil will go towards upgrading Smart Manufacturing service, aimed at supporting investment and business acitivities.
"In addition, the Futurise Centre in Cyberjaya will be upgraded as a one-stop centre for corporate companies and universities to develop product prototypes as well as to boost innovation.
The government will also extend incentives for Fast Capital Allowance by 200% on automation appliances for assessment year of 2018 until 2020, as well as for the manufacturing and services sector.
"Information communication technology appliances, capital allowances – including computer software expenditure – can be claimed from assessment year of 2018 until 2020," she said.
In closing, she added that the Digital Free Trade Zone will go live on Nov 3 this year with 1,900 export-ready SMEs signed on to participate.
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