Malaysia has taken another step towards expanding its digital economy, with the newly tabled 2018 budget containing a series of initiatives designed to promote growth in tech companies and ICT skills development.
Included in the budget, submitted to Parliament was an RM250m ($59.1m) pledge to improve the digital education of Malaysian school students. The funding forms part of the long-term National Transformation 2050 plan, and is targeted at boosting embedded programming and creative technology.
Efforts to improve the digital skills of future generations have been complemented by the allocation of an additional RM100m ($23.6m) to the government’s eRezeki and eUsahawan programmes.
The initiatives, overseen by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and launched in 2015, connect low-income households to digital income opportunities, providing training and employment to selected citizens.
The MDEC expects around 350,000 Malaysians will take part in the programmes this year.
The budget also included a number of measures aimed at promoting business development and growth in the start-up scene, with RM1bn ($236.3m) put towards venture capital investment in selected sectors, along with a widening of tax exemption guidelines to include management and performance fees.
The changes will make corporate and individual investors in venture capital companies eligible to claim tax deductions up to a maximum of RM20m ($4.7m) a year, while exemptions on income tax will be extended until the end of 2020.