Minister: Govt to provide RM20.7b in cash, incentives over five years for digitalisation

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng addresses reporters during a press conference after attending the 40th CATA Annual Technical Conference 2019 at the St Giles Wembley Hotel, George Town November 11, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng addresses reporters during a press conference after attending the 40th CATA Annual Technical Conference 2019 at the St Giles Wembley Hotel, George Town November 11, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

CYBERJAYA, Nov 13 — The government is providing RM20.7 billion worth of cash and non-cash incentives for over five years from next year to assist Malaysian companies’ transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0), said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“After all, either you digitalise, or you will not survive. This is the reality that we have to face,” he said at the 60th Pan-Asian E-Commerce Alliance (PAA) steering committee meeting, here 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.

Lim said the government would invest RM21.6 billion through Public-Private Partnerships over five years 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.

Moving forward, he said all sectors in the country must be ready for digital transformation, underpinned by IR4.0.

He also said Malaysia would continue to support the development of a rules-based multilateral trade framework that is free, while providing a level-playing field and market access that protects smaller players.

“The days of ‘government knows best’ is over, we should give the professionals and experts the freedom to do what they do best,” he added.

While the public sector-led initiatives are important, Lim said the private sector should lead initiatives on their own to raise their competitiveness that will benefit the country.

Thus, he said the government advocated the 4Ps partnership, involving the public sector, private sector, professionals and the people.

Lim said Dagang Net Technologies Sdn Bhd, as the operator of Malaysia’s National Single Window (NSW) for Trade Facilitation, would continue to be actively involved in industry initiatives such as organising the PAA, aimed at improving the industry and enhance greater collaboration, as well as advocate a multilateral trade framework and e-commerce platform.

Dagang Net’s NSW ecosystem is currently connected to 167 customs stations, 24 seaports, 56 private jetties, 14 banks including five foreign banks, over 30 other government agencies issuing permits, and 30,000 importers, exporters, forwarding agents, and manufacturers processing 200 million transactions per year. — Bernama

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