Pikom, the national information and communications technology (ICT) association of Malaysia, feels the Budget 2015 announced today fell short of measures needed to create a digital economy.

The association said there should have been more ICT-focused initiatives as the country moves towards a high income and knowledge-based economy.

However, Pikom chairman Cheah Kok Hoong said the allocation of RM1.3 billion to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti), would spur research and development and commercialisation.

He said although there were not many specific incentives for the ICT industry, the players could take advantage of the introduction of the Research Incentive Scheme for Enterprise (RISE) of RM10 million, for enterprises to fund their research and product development.

On the content industry, he welcomed the significant allocation of RM200 million for the MyCreative Venture and RM100 million to promote digital content.

“Moving towards a globalised business nature, SMEs can now also take advantage of the comeback of the Services Export Fund of RM300 million to do market studies and boost exports, while seeking new markets abroad for expansion,” he said.

He also said Pikom was pleased that the government had taken heed of the request to increase broadband uptake through the investment of RM2.7 billion over a period of three years, which augurs well towards increasing subscription for it.

“The budget, however, did not sufficiently address the issue of broadband service charges which are deemed still high compared to regional neighbours and the ICT industry’s concerns such as zero-rated GST on ICT products,” Cheah added.

Meanwhile, Symentec’s Asia South and Korea Region vice-president, Eric Hoh said while access to high speed internet presents new commercial and social opportunities to enterprises, it also opens new doors to risks.

Echoing Symnetec’s statement is another leading security software and solutions provider, Trend Micro.

Regional consulting director, South East Asia Region,Victor Lo said as Malaysia moved towards digitalising the economy, it was imperative that it also ensured the security of the country’s ICT infrastructure.

“Over the past month alone, Malaysia has witnessed a heightened level of sophistication in cybercriminals’ methods such as recent incidences of ATM hacking,” he added.

He said information security must be treated as a primary component of a long-term strategy rather treating it as tertiary, minor setbacks. – Bernama