As we move towards a high income and knowledge-based economy, PIKOM felt that there should have been more ICT-focused initiatives in Budget 2015. This is in line with our aspirations towards creating a digital economy.
However, PIKOM is pleased that the government is responding to our request on a reduction of both Personal and Corporate income tax. The Personal income tax rates cut 1 to 3 percentage points, would result in 300,000 taxpayers no longer taxable while corporate income tax would reduce 1% to 24%. The reduction will result an increase of disposable income for the middle class and companies.
The government has also taken heed of our request on increasing broadband uptake. The investment of RM 2.7 billion over a period of 3 years augurs well towards increasing broadband subscription. This helps address the issue of availability. PIKOM felt that the Budget did not sufficiently address the issue of broadband services charges which is deemed still high compared to regional neighbours.
Although we do not see many specific incentives towards ICT industry, there is introduction of Research Incentive Scheme for Enterprise (RISE) totaling RM10 million for Enterprises. We would encourage the ICT players to take advantage on this scheme to fund their research and product development. The allocation of RM 1.3 billion allocated to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) will spur R&D and commercialisation.
On the content industry, PIKOM welcomes the significant allocation of RM 200 million for the MyCreative Venture and the RM 100 million to promote digital content. The government is cognizant of trends towards richer content for the netizens.
Moreover, as we are moving towards a globalized business nature, SMEs now could take advantage on the comeback of Services Export Fund (SEF) totaling RM300 million to do market studies and boost exports. This is especially key to help the local SMEs as we welcome the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. This will be a major encouragement for companies to seek new markets abroad for expansion.
In summary, PIKOM feels that the Budget addresses the immediate need to lessen the burden on the people. The Budget 2015 should have addressed the ICT industryâ€™s concerns such as zero-rated GST on ICT products and competitive broadband rates.
Last but not least, with the announcement of Budget 2015, I would like to urge the local businesses to get ready for the implementation of GST by April next year.MYNEWSHUB