PHOTO - Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Malaysia's ICT industry has extended a cautious welcome to the latest Budget 2012 proposals, worth RM232.8 billion (US$74 billion), tabled on 7 October by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Themed 'National Transformation: Welfare For The People, Well Being For The Nation,' Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, said RM181.6 billion (US$57.54 billion) of the total cost of Budget 2012 would be used for operating expenditure and RM51.2 billion (US$16.22 billion) for development expenditure.
Of the development expenditure, RM29.8 billion (US$9.44 billion) is provided for the economic sector to support infrastructure needs, industry, agriculture and rural development, he said.
Prime Minister Najib also announced a RM100 million (US$31.69 million) allocation for creativity and innovation of which RM30 million (US$9.5 million) will be used to establish the Market Validation Fund to be managed by the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation together with the Malaysia Innovation Agency
To encourage development of the five 'regional corridors,' Najib said: "In 2012, the government will allocate RM978 million (US$310 million) to accelerate the development in five regional corridors. Among the projects to be implemented are the construction of Johor Bahru-Nusa Jaya coastal highway in Iskandar, Johor; heritage tourism development in Taiping in the Northern Corridor; agropolitan scheme in Besut in the East Coast Economic Region; palm oil industrial cluster project in Lahad Datu in Sabah Development Corridor; and Samalaju water supply in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy."
"To accelerate the banking, finance and capital market, continuous effort is required to promote the development of a more integrated and comprehensive financial services. This can be achieved with the establishment of the Treasury Management Centre, which will contribute to the development of Malaysia as a competitive financial centre in the region," he said, adding that Malaysia would attract multinational corporations (MNCs) with income tax exemption of 70 percent for five years, withholding tax exemption on interest payments on borrowings and stamp duty exemption on loans and service agreements.
Najib said one of the expected benefits of Budget 2012 would be to reduce the budget deficit to 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 5.4 percent, while helping GDP to grow from five percent to six percent next year after growing as much as 5.5 percent in 2011.
Talent and Innovation
Government ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) chief executive officer Dato' Badlisham Ghazali lauded the government’s holistic approach toward stimulating creativity and innovation. "We welcome the government’s proclamation of 2012 being the year of the National Innovation Movement, with an allocation of RM100 million (US$31.69 million) to encourage innovation in all sectors of society. We believe that this will trigger greater innovations by the rakyat that will continue driving the nation’s shift into a High Income Economy, by complementing current efforts to establish an ecosystem of economy, governance and social interaction driven by ICT."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.