Malaysia’s Budget 2024 Unleashes Digital Economic Potential with Strategic Investments and Support Initiatives

Malaysia’s Budget 2024, under the theme ‘Economic Reform, Empowering People,’ aims to fuel the country’s digital economy with significant investments in AI research, support for game developers, and initiatives for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). These measures align with the government’s goal of transitioning Malaysia into a regional digital economic powerhouse, offering growth and competitiveness in the global digital landscape.

17 October 2023 – Malaysia’s digital landscape is set to receive a significant boost with the unveiling of the Budget 2024, aimed at stimulating economic growth and promoting innovation. The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is fully supportive of this comprehensive budget, aligning with their mission to ensure an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable digital economy.

In response to the Budget 2024 announcement, which carries the theme of ‘Economic Reform, Empowering People,’ MDEC highlighted the government’s commitment to democratizing access to the digital economy for all Malaysians. Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim foresees a year of accelerated growth and empowerment in the digital sector, citing Malaysia as the Southeast Asian hub for global leaders in game development, with industry giants like Sony Playstation, Larian Studios, Codemasters Studios, and Bandai Namco firmly establishing their presence in the country.

Budget 2024 has allocated RM20 million for pioneering research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) at the University of Technology Malaysia (UTM), a promising step towards nurturing AI talent and digital content production. Additional incentives, amounting to RM30 million, aim to catalyze the creation of new local intellectual properties (IPs) by global game developers based in Malaysia. An extra RM60 million has been earmarked for the Digital Content Fund, dedicated to promoting local IPs celebrating Malaysian culture and content.

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are also set to benefit from the budget, as the government has allocated RM165 million to support them through initiatives such as digital grants, the Shop Malaysia Online program for online businesses, and the expansion of Digital Economic Centers (PEDi) across all state assemblies. These initiatives align with MDEC’s overarching goal of enhancing competitiveness through automation and digitization to stimulate business growth.

The New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP 2030), unveiled in tandem with Budget 2024, introduces a series of measures to support startups, MSMEs, and entrepreneurs in their digitalization journey. These measures include financing tools, matching grants, funding support, capability development, and mentoring programs designed to accelerate digital adoption.

The supportive framework of NIMP 2030 offers tax incentives for ‘high growth, high value’ companies and streamlined funding mechanisms for international investors in the manufacturing and electrical and electronic sectors. These measures are expected to create an upsurge in career opportunities within the digital economy.

With these budget initiatives, Malaysia is rapidly progressing towards becoming a regional digital economic powerhouse, shifting from a startup-focused nation to one that places a high premium on international competitiveness. The focus on innovation and the digital economy in Budget 2024 underscores Malaysia’s unwavering commitment to this transformative journey.

Author: Terry KS

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