Government to provide RM20.7 billion in cash, incentives over 5 years for digitalisation
The government will provide RM20.7 billion worth of cash and non-cash incentives over five years from next year to assist Malaysian companies’ transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0). Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced this at the Pan Asian E-Commerce Alliance steering committee meeting in Cyberjaya today. Citing the Department of Statistics, Lim said the digital economy constituted 18.5 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018. He said the government’s efforts would push the share higher, with the International Data Corporation expecting it to reach 21 per cent by 2022. “The government is aiding the digitalising and future-proofing of the economy by investing heavily in digital infrastructure, reforming the broadband market, and encouraging small and large businesses to make the leap towards IR4.0,” he said. He added that the government would invest RM21.6 billion through Public-Private Partnerships from 2019 to 2023 under the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan, which will widen the coverage of high-quality, high-speed broadband Internet nationally while providing Malaysians with affordable services. “This will lay the groundwork for a comprehensive implementation of 5G in Malaysia, and gives the country a first-mover advantage in the era of Industry 4.0,” he added.
On the Malaysian economy, Lim said economic growth remains resilient despite the US-China trade dispute backlash and the projected world merchandise trade volume growth of only 1.2 per cent in 2019, instead of the 2.6 per cent increase forecast in April. He pointed out that Malaysia’s economic growth will be supported by development expenditure, for which the money not spent this year will be rolled over to next year. Lim said the Malaysian economy has performed more resiliently than others, registering a gross domestic product (GDP) of 4.9 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of this year, which was faster than the 4.5 per cent growth in the previous quarter. For the whole of 2019, he said the government expects the GDP to expand at 4.7 per cent.