KUALA LUMPUR: The measures in the 2021 Budget would be integral in accelerating Malaysia's path to recovery and realise its vision of becoming an inclusive high-tech nation via an innovation-driven economy.
Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity (MaGIC) Chief Executive Officer Dzuleira Abu Bakar said there is wide-spread adoption of technology across the country as businesses, startups and enterprises turn to innovation to navigate during these uncertain times.
The proposals in the 2021 Budget will ensure that these entities are well-guarded and will continue to deliver impactful innovations and create jobs for the economy, she said.
"MaGIC will continue to play the lead role in empowering technology startups and social enterprises by providing them access to capacity building, market, regulatory and funding.
"Boosted by the initiatives tabled under the 2021 Budget, MaGIC is relentlessly committed to creating the next generation of resilient startups, better equipped and agile to thrive in the new economy, fuelling their growth to be sustainable," she said in a statement.
In welcoming the RM20 million allocation to develop social enterprises further, Dzuleira said social enterprises had proven to be a leading light during the Covid-19 pandemic, as they continue to help vulnerable sections of society in these difficult times.
In addition, she said the e-Perolehan Impak Kerajaan (e-PIK) will further boost social innovation-driven activities.
The e-PIK is a bold and much needed initiative that leverages the government's massive purchasing power to drive positive social and environmental outcomes in the country, she adds.
"Through this initiative, social enterprises (SEs) can supply goods and services to the Government in total up to RM20 million per year and this translates to social value creation in areas such as community livelihood, food security, heritage preservation, our health and social wellbeing, and environmental protection.
"The initiative will begin its pilot phase in 2021, which will focus on establishing a viable proof of concept by testing the programme among eligible SEs and a few ministries," Dzuleira added.
She said the Government is also working with non-governmental organisations and SEs to tackle social and environmental issues, with RM100 million funding made available via a matching grant mechanism.
The MySDG Trust Fund is another initiative that highlights the Government's commitment in achieving the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.
Further funding is made available to the All Party Parliamentary Group to conduct programmes related to the SDGs, she said.
Dzuleira said the budget has also placed emphasis on the need to accelerate research and development (R&D) as the country seeks to develop more innovative solutions that are commercially viable.
"A stronger ecosystem, encouraged by tax incentives, will definitely accelerate the commercial scalability of innovative solutions".
This is in line with the objective of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS), which was recently launched in August this year, she said.
To develop an innovation-driven economy, Dzuleira said the NTIS is set to accelerate the commercialisation of intellectual property and innovative solutions through a holistic ecosystem approach, including connecting startups to investors and overcoming existing regulatory challenges.
"Efforts to digitalise and automate businesses in the country under Skim Transformasi Pendigitalan, Skim Geran Pendigitalan SME and Geran Automasi are not only commendable but timely. This puts in place a stronger foundation for the future as we prepare to bounce back from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Our farmers, or rather, agri-preneurs, are also encouraged to go hi-tech under the Program Ladang e-Satelit. This programme will encourage them to invest in Internet of Things (IoT) enabled assets, including Drone Tech, through a matching grant mechanism."
Dzuleira also said that in a troubled economy, tech startups are finding it tough to secure investments to scale up and as such, MaGIC is happy that investors via the Equity Crowd Funding will be granted a tax exemption of 50 per cent of the funds invested, limited to RM50,000.
"We hope this initiative will encourage more investors to come forward and increase liquidity in the startups ecosystem.
"These initiatives, from driving the collective good through social innovation and accelerating the commercialisation of innovative solutions will be key in accelerating our path to socio-economic recovery.
"As we look ahead to 2021, Malaysia is in a much stronger position of becoming a high-tech and innovation-driven economy," she said.
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