In a bid to bolster innovation, support startups, and advance technology, Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (Mosti) is putting forward ambitious plans within the framework of Budget 2024. Minister Chang Lih Kang has revealed Mosti’s focus areas in the ministry’s budget proposals, outlining key priorities aimed at driving Malaysia’s development and competitiveness in the tech sector.
At a recent tech conference hosted by the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), Minister Chang Lih Kang articulated Mosti’s vision. He emphasized the significance of several pivotal areas, with the startup ecosystem topping the list. The minister expressed the ministry’s aim to secure more funding for startups, recognizing their crucial role in Malaysia’s technological advancement.
“We’re looking to reinforce several areas, starting with the startup ecosystem; we aim to secure more funding,” Chang Lih Kang stated at the conference.
Emerging technology also stands as a significant focus area, with the goal of propelling Malaysia into the forefront of cutting-edge technological advancements. The ministry aims to create an environment conducive to the development of state-of-the-art technologies.
Another pivotal focus for Mosti is STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The government aims to instill STEM education into the national curriculum, ensuring that future generations are equipped with the skills needed to excel in a technology-driven world.
Minister Chang Lih Kang has expressed his aspiration for Budget 2024 to allocate funds that will support the government’s ambitious target of having 1.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) on Malaysian roads by 2040. Currently, the adoption of EVs in the country remains relatively low. To encourage greater EV usage, the government plans to establish 10,000 charging stations by 2025, aligning with the global push towards sustainable transportation solutions.
In summary, Mosti in Malaysia is committed to fostering innovation, supporting startups, advancing technology, and nurturing STEM education across the nation. As the government prepares to present Budget 2024 in Parliament on October 13, 2023, these initiatives hold the promise of a tech-savvy future for Malaysia.
Tech Companies Advocate for Strengthening the Startup Ecosystem in Budget 2024
Tech companies in Malaysia have urged the government to prioritize the strengthening of the startup ecosystem in the upcoming 2024 budget to stimulate economic growth and innovation. According to Hazani Hassan, CEO, Malaysian Technology Development Corporation, this effort should encompass not only funding assistance but also a holistic approach to support startups in various aspects.
“It is not just about funding but it must also focus on the development of the ecosystem, incubation, the drivers, and attracting more talent,” Hazani Hassan emphasized.
Hazani Hassan also highlighted the need for startups to have access to the right advisors, particularly in areas like legal and financial matters where many startups lack expertise.
The proposed measures align with the goal of producing more tech-savvy talent in Malaysia and nurturing a vibrant startup ecosystem. Tech companies believe that a robust startup ecosystem, supported by comprehensive assistance and mentoring, will lead to the emergence of more “unicorns” and contribute to the nation’s economic growth.
Promoting Emerging Technologies through Sandbox Programs
To further enhance Malaysia’s tech landscape, Hazani Hassan suggested the implementation of a “sandbox” program to facilitate the validation and penetration of emerging technologies into the market. A sandbox program allows for the testing of products, services, business models, and delivery mechanisms in a live environment.
“The sandbox program will become very important because in order for us to bring technology into the market, we need to do verification in terms of technology and market validation, and regulatory,” Hazani Hassan, CEO, Malaysian Technology Development Corporation explained. He added that a thriving startup ecosystem with a supportive sandbox program could emulate the success of Silicon Valley by attracting more startups and potentially creating unicorns.
Calls for Research and Development (R&D) Allocations
Local tech companies, including drone tech firm Meraque Group, have emphasized the importance of allocating funds for research and development (R&D) in the 2024 budget. R&D investments, in the form of soft loans or grants, are seen as critical for fostering innovation and supporting aspiring innovators and startups.
Razalee Ismail, CEO of Meraque Group, stressed that R&D is time and cost-intensive, and financial support is essential to ensure the viability of emerging technologies. He noted that Malaysia’s heavy reliance on technology imports from other countries underscores the need for increased investment in local R&D efforts.
Addressing Forex Costs and Reducing Import Expenses
Bateriku (M) Sdn Bhd, a provider of on-site car battery delivery and installation services, called for government support to reduce the costs associated with foreign exchange fluctuations. CEO Azarol Faizi highlighted the substantial expenses incurred by local companies due to forex costs, which often hinder their ability to offer competitive prices for their products.
Azarol Faizi expressed hope that the government would take steps to alleviate operating costs, making it easier for companies to provide affordable goods to consumers.
The upcoming 2024 budget, set to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on October 13, 2023, holds significant importance for Malaysia’s tech sector and its aspirations for technological advancement, innovation, and economic growth.
As Malaysia prepares for Budget 2024, the government’s commitment to promoting innovation, supporting startups, advancing technology, and nurturing STEM education reflects a vision of a tech-savvy and economically vibrant future. Tech companies, along with key stakeholders, are advocating for comprehensive measures to strengthen the startup ecosystem, promote emerging technologies, and allocate funds for critical research and development efforts. With concerted efforts and strategic investments, Malaysia aims to position itself as a hub for technology-driven growth and innovation, harnessing the potential of its burgeoning tech sector.