Tech groups urge Budget 2024 focus on boosting startup ecosystem
- by Yun
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — The government must look into strengthening the startup ecosystem in Budget 2024 to ensure Malaysia can produce more unicorns and help stimulate the national economy.
Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) chief executive officer Mohammad Hazani Hassan said the move does not only involve funding, but must be implemented holistically to help companies survive.
“It should not be just about funding, but (also) focus on the ecosystem, incubation, the drivers and more talent because most of the problem with tech companies is that they have the talent, but not enough.
“The second thing is advisers. Looking at startups, they are only people (who are skilled) technically. When it comes to the legal or financial side, there is no one. They know they have the products, the market. But how does the government and its agencies want to provide (services) to the whole system?” he asked.
Hazani told Bernama he proposes the government focus on the sandbox programme to assist emerging technology in getting the required validation to penetrate the market.
“The sandbox 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 processes.
“Once we have more startups, people in the startup industry can bring in more technology. It is like in Silicon Valley.
“My wish is to have more startups in Malaysia because then we can have some good unicorns,” he said.
Hazani said other areas that deserve the government’s attention are food technology and the semiconductor industries.
Meraque Group 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 (M) Sdn Bhd CEO Azarol Faizi hoped the government could help reduce the cost of imports due to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.
He said most local companies spend heavily on forex costs, thus preventing them from offering lower prices for their products.
“I hope the Madani government can help 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 October 13.