The Malaysia Internet Exchange (MyIX) has commended the government for its strong emphasis on digital connectivity during the tabling of Budget 2021 last Friday.
Its chairman Chiew Kok Hin said that connectivity is extremely crucial in elevating national competiveness as ICT continues to transform value creation process while fostering local innovation.
“The brick and mortar economy was extremely reliant on cheap labour to create value. Within today’s digital economy, technology has disrupted the old equilibrium and energised innovation, entrepreneurship and new business models,” said Chiew.
“Hence, numerous industries have capitalised on latest technologies to transform their operations and value creation processes; from product development to production, supply to sales, and service.”
“Digital connectivity is the ‘bridge’ to elevate Malaysia’s national competitiveness and it is very encouraging that the government fully appreciates this reality,” added Chiew.
Finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz had announced, among others, that RM7.4 billion be allocated for the Malaysian Communications Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to increase broadband services in 2021 and 2022, coupled with telcos expecting to provide RM1.5 billion worth of benefits such as free data and the RM500 million allocation to implement the National Digital Network (JENDELA) initiative in 2021.
The aim of JENDELA is to lay the foundation as well as prepare the country for the transition towards 5G technologies.
Chiew explained that 5G would open up many possibilities, such as in increasing automation development in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, banking and agriculture.
MyIX is also heartened that emphasis has also been placed on job creation within Budget 2021, such as the RM50 million allocated for retraining programmes for 8,000 airline staff, and the RM100 million grant for NGOs involved in job creation to be matched with a RM100 million grant from government-linked companies.
Chiew believes that local businesses should continue prioritising upskilling and creating a ‘digital first’ workforce.
“Due to rising demand for digital tools and processes, there is an urgent need for people to upskill themselves with knowledge of digital technologies coupled with digital literacy and transferable skills,” said Chiew.
Within Budget 2021, digital transformation is another priority area.
RM1 billion would be set aside for digital transformation schemes, coupled with RM150 million in grants for the digitalisation and automisation of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and nearly RM1.2 billion for microcredit schemes.
In addition, the government also announced RM10 billion for Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan Bhd and RM2.5 billion for G1 to G4 contractors for small and medium projects nationwide, with MARA to provide RM50 million in funding scheme for Bumiputera contractors.
“Digital transformation is an ongoing journey for businesses to realise greater productivity and operation efficiencies,” said Chiew.
“It is extremely critical to fast-tracking innovation while enabling businesses to be more agile, more so within today’s ‘new norm’. MyIX will play its critical role to foster direct connectivity among internet providers so that end users benefit from improved internet flow.”
MyIX, an initiative under MCMC, was established to keep Malaysian internet traffic local by promoting and allowing direct connectivity among local internet service providers (ISPs), content distribution networks (CDNs) and other industry enterprises.
Today, it is Malaysia’s only non-profit national internet exchange body operated by industry.