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Address funding-innovation mismatch, says PIKOM

Last update: 16/09/2019
By Farhana Poniman

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 -- There is a need to address the mismatch between the government’s incentives for the technology sector and the innovation on the ground during the tabling of the 2020 Budget, says the National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM).

PIKOM chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah said while there was ample funding made available by the government for the sector, it was not tailored for small companies, considering the large loan size allocated per company.

“Therein lies the biggest problem because companies with real innovative technologies are usually startups that cannot afford RM50 million loan,” he told Bernama.

In giving example, Ganesh said Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd's RM3 billion Industry Digitalisation Transformation Fund is expected to disburse RM50 million in loan per company.

He said most of the billion-dollar companies today that had come out with groundbreaking innovations such as WhatsApp and Uber had started as small companies.

The creation of both WhatsApp and Uber because mobile phone technology has notifications, he said.

He pointed out that the funding mismatch is ultimately taking a toll on the availability of the innovations and applications that could benefit from Malaysia's technology infrastructure.

Ganesh said Malaysia has excellent 5G infrastructure, but real applications that could leverage the infrastructure and provide real economic value are still limited.

Therefore, he was hoping that the loans and incentives the government is planning to roll out for the upcoming 2020 Budget would be changed to application-based from incentive-based currently.

“PIKOM can play the role of a neutral industry player to come in and advice the government on what are the applications that we can look at,” he added.


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