What Budget 2017 Means for Malaysia’s IOT and Smart Cities

When the Malaysia Budget 2017, tabled by Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak on Friday 21 October 2016, many local ICT players questioned whether the allocations for the ICT industry go far enough to continue the drive to the high-income developed nation status goal by the year 2020. It’s just three years away from the Wawasan 2020.

Unfortunately, Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Cities missed again to get properly mentioned in the Budget Speech. Unlike Nasi Lemak Anak Dara and Nasi Kandar Vanggey that get an instant boost of popularity, unfortunately, the National IOT Strategic Roadmap and the hottest topic around the world such as Smart Cities are taken a back-seat. We were hoping that a special mention about these hottest topics in the Budget 2017 can help boost the awareness and make them a priority in boosting the economy by 2020.

Through MDEC, a sum of RM162 million is allocated to implement programmes such as e-commerce ecosystem and Digital Maker Movement as well as the introduction of new location category as Malaysia Digital Hub.

The Government will also introduce the first Digital Free Zone in the world. It will merge physical and virtual zones, with additional online and digital services to facilitate international e- commerce and invigorate internet-based innovation.

(As quoted in Budget 2017)

As mentioned by Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of MDEC in CIO Asia, “We will also be the first country in the world to introduce the Digital Free Trade Zone.For the first time, the world will have physical and virtual zones with additional online and digital services to facilitate international eCommerce and invigorate internet based-innovation,” added Yasmin. “With these measures, we look set to make the most out of the Internet Economy next year; and take a step closer to becoming a fully sustainable developed digital economy nation.”

Hopefully, projects for IoT and Smart Cities are embedded in some of the initiatives stated in the Budget above.


Author: Dr. Mazlan Abbas, CEO of REDtone IOT. An IOT Evangelist, Keynote Speaker and IOT Thought Leader.


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