Affordable mobile devices, lack of skilled talent
Semiconductor firm Intel Malaysia & Singapore country manager Prakash Mallya [pic] welcomed the HSSB2 initiatives. "Access to the Internet provides individuals and businesses with new ways to connect, consume knowledge and trade across geographical borders and Malaysia has had an encouraging amount of success in this area."
"However, Intel would have liked to see allocations towards making ICT devices more affordable and accessible to all. The increased availability of Internet access can only be fully taken advantage of when the rakyat [the people] is equipped with ICT devices - be it a PC, tablet or 2-in-1 device - and the knowledge to use them," said Mallya. "ICT training for students and their families would also be able to help improve rakyat's ability to use technology and provide them with the skills they need in the 21st century."
Outsourcing Malaysia's Wong said that one of the outsourcing industry's major challenges is the lack of skilled employees. "The Government's commitment to accelerate academic achievement, competencies and skills is a great move to the services industry more importantly to the sourcing industry. This will facilitate service providers to up the quality of services to be provided to their clients."
"Malaysian outsourcing players need to move into highly specialised end-to-end services in niche markets such as a) Business Financial Services Industry (BFSI) b) Healthcare c) Logistics and d) Oil and Gas in order to remain globally competitive," said Wong. "For that to happen, Human Capital development is key to the advancement of the industry as it will generate a skilled and competent work force channelled into the services industry and build a conducive eco-system."
MDeC's Badlisham said the incentives under Budget 2014 will help companies cover partial operational costs for human capital development in Research & Development. "This will help spur innovation amongst companies and entrepreneurs. We are also excited about the integrated package to increase innovation and productivity of SMEs [small and medium enterprises] under the Green Lane policy. MDeC certainly sees ICT as a key enabler for this game-changing transformation for SMEs."
Design software firm Autodesk Malaysia country manager Tan Choon Sang (CS Tan) [pic] posited that Budget 2014 placed increased emphasis on enhancing national competitiveness in the global economy.
"However, human capital development remains one of the key challenges for the ICT industry and we are pleased with the government's continued commitment and emphasis to invest in nurturing talent to create a pool of trained and competitive workforce," said Tan.
"The government's move to provide RM400 million [US$127.23 million] through the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) for registered companies to give opportunities to employees to enrol in up-skilling and reskilling programmes is certainly welcomed," he said. "In order to raise Malaysia's position as a competitive market, the industry needs to produce a quality workforce with the right skills."
Entrepreneurship and SMEs
"With regards to boosting entrepreneurship and youth development in Malaysia, we are pleased with the announcement of 1Malaysia Entrepreneurship Programme (1MET) a framework designed to assist and mentor youth in social entrepreneurship, which involve 5,000 Malaysian youth" said MDeC's Badlisham. "We are confident that with the introduction of 1MET, Malaysia will consolidate all efforts in developing young entrepreneurs in a more coordinated manner. In addition, this will enable them to grow their businesses by leveraging on public and private sector resources.
"We are also happy with the allocation of RM50 million [US$15.9 million] by the Prime Minister to set up MaGIC [Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre]" he said. "This is certainly a positive move to further encourage the creation of a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem in Malaysia. With MaGIC, Malaysian entrepreneurs in industries such as creative multimedia, R&D, outsourcing and data management will have easy access to various facilities including funding, incubation, and mentoring - all under one roof."
PIKOM's Woon said: "We are happy that the budget also focused on entrepreneurship development which is the lifeline to SMEs and will lead to higher job creation. The budget allocated to MAGIC and the development programmes by 1MET will help spur entrepreneurs forward."
Outsourcing Malaysia's Wong said: "Another key initiative by the Government that needs key mention is the introduction of soft loans under the Graduate Entrepreneurs Fund. This will help inhibit non-employability amongst new graduates while creating new economic growth and stability."
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