Allocation expected to spur eSports players

Game on: Muhammad Farouq (left) and Chow.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is home to incredible talents at every level of the eSports ecosystem and the RM20mil allocation will contribute to the development of new and upcoming talents, says head of Yoodo Chow Tuck Mun.

“We believe the government’s support and faith in the industry will also spur those with interest and skills to come forward and try their hand in eSports,” he said.

Malaysia Electronic Sports Federation (MESF) director of communications, Muhammad Farouq Abdul Patah, said he had expected a smaller allocation because of the pandemic.

“I would have been happy even if it was less because I understand that the government needs to make allocations towards more urgent matters,” he said.

He hoped that the allocation could be distributed equally to support the development of eSports on various platforms.

“eSports is not just about mobile titles, as we have players competing on PC and consoles which also deserve recognition and support,” he said, adding that a bigger allocation meant extra responsibility to look after more segments in eSports.

In response to Malaysian players, including Cheng Jin Xiang who is better known as “NothingToSay”, excelling at international tournaments, a tax relief for cash prizes won at selected tournaments was also announced.

Cheng played for China-based PSG.LGD which came in second at the International 10 Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients) tournament, netting US$5,202,400 (RM21.7mil) in prize money.

“This is a welcome move. eSports players train incredibly hard for tournaments – it’s a job for most of them, so their income is derived from winnings,” said Chow.

eSports Integrated (ESI) CEO Ahmed Faris Amir would like the tax exemption to cover both international and local tournaments.

“This would encourage more players to join professional leagues knowing that they will get to keep a bigger cut of their winnings,” he said.

“But whether it’s enough to make a team more sustainable or to invest back into things like development, marketing and hiring new players, that depends on the management of the team,” he said.

eSports was previously granted RM15mil under Budget 2021, RM20mil in Budget 2020 and RM10mil in Budget 2019.

The allocation in Budget 2022 also includes RM5mil for the creation of a Drone Sports Centre of Excellence.

It was also announced that 5G coverage will be expanded to cover 36% of high density areas, including the biggest cities in Johor, Selangor, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak next year.

The National Digital Network (Jendela) initiative will also receive an allocation of RM700mil to expand broadband coverage, especially in 47 industrial areas and 630 schools, especially those in rural areas.An additional RM30mil will also be allocated to provide Internet facilities at 40 existing people’s housing projects (PPR).

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