Call to focus on startup ecosystem

Kuala Lumpur: Kerajaan perlu memberi fokus kepada pengukuhan ekosistem startup atau industri pemula dalam Belanjawan 2024, bagi memastikan Malaysia mampu melahirkan lebih banyak syarikat pemula persendirian, sekali gus membantu merangsang ekonomi negara.

KUALA LUMPUR: The startup ecosystem must be strengthened to ensure Malaysia is able to produce more unicorns to stimulate the national economy, says the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC).

Its chief executive officer Mohammad Hazani Hassan urged the government to look into it in Budget 2024.

He said the move does not only involve funding, but must be implemented holistically to help the company survive.

“It should not be just about funding, but the government must focus on the ecosystem, incubation, the drivers and more talent because most of the problem with tech companies is that they have talents, but not enough.

“So, we need to produce more talent.

“The second thing is advisers. How to help these people because looking at startups, they are only people (who are skilled) technically.

“When it comes to the legal or financial side, there is none.

“They know they have the products and the market. But how does the government and its agencies provide (services) to the whole system,” he told Bernama.

Mohammad Hazani also proposed that the government focus on the sandbox programme to assist emerging technology in getting the required validation to penetrate the market.

A sandbox programme is a programme that tests products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment.

“The programme will become very important because in order for us to bring technology into the market, we need to do verification (technology and market validation) and of course, regulatory.

“Once we have more startups, people in the startup industry can bring in more technology. So, it’s like in Silicon Valley.

“My wish is to have more startups in Malaysia because then we can have some good unicorns,” he said.

According to Mohammad Hazani, other areas that deserve the government’s attention are food technology and the semiconductor industries.

Meraque CEO Razalee Ismail said Budget 2024 should focus on providing certain allocations for research and development (R&D) in terms of soft loans or grants for aspiring innovators and startups.

He said this is due to the nature of R&D, which involves time and cost that could affect the viability of new emerging technologies.

“We need an allocation for R&D; so if we can have more for R&D, then we can build more technology which we currently import from China and other countries,” he said

Bateriku Sdn Bhd CEO Azarol Faizi hoped that the government could help by reducing the cost of imports due to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.

He said most local companies had to spend heavily on forex costs, thus preventing them from offering lower prices for their products.

“I hope the Madani government can help to reduce our operating costs and (other) costs to make it easier for us to provide goods that are really at Rahmah prices,” he said.

Budget 2024 will be tabled in Parliament on Oct 13.