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The ‘new ladder’ of tech regulation

Ross Storey | May 18, 2011
A key United Nations body has put world governments on notice about how crucial is information and communications technology (ICT), to every country’s economic, social and political growth.

Malaysia has set a target of 50 per cent broadband penetration by year-end and 75 per cent by 2015.

Najib said the Multimedia Development Corridor enters its third phase this year, with a focus on creation of an innovative digital economy to achieve the target of a high-income nation.

“To enhance the potential of the ICT industry, the RM119 million [US$38.57 million] MY Creative Content Programme will be implemented to encourage the development of local content creation, hosting local content and unlocking new channels for content,” the prime minister said.

Tax exemption
Another budget initiate was the extension of the investment allowance period for the last mile broadband service providers. Import duty and sales tax exemption on broadband equipment were also extended for two years until 2012.

In Malaysia, ordinary mobile phones are subject to 10 per cent sales tax but mobile phones, with various applications such as Internet and personal digital assistants (PDAs), are exempted from sales tax. In the 2011 budget, Malaysia decided to streamline tax treatment, by exempting all types of mobile phones from sales tax.

“This budget is a clear signal of the governments’ seriousness about transforming the country’s economic framework to meet the challenges of an Innovative Digital Economy,” said government ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation [MDeC] chief executive officer, Dato’ Badlisham Ghazali.

“It is very good for the ICT sector because of the focused and strategic nature of the proposed measures which are aimed at strengthening the eco-system, nurturing talent and creating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Creative industry
“[These] measures under the MY Creative Content Programme are significant for the multimedia creative content industry,” said Badlisham. “The allocated budget of RM119 million [US$38.57 million] will further spur the creation and hosting of local multimedia content. Today, the creative industry is still a relatively untapped but potentially lucrative trillion dollar industry and development of this sector must be further accelerated as a source of national growth and income.” 

“The governments’ allocation for business outsourcing services is another area that bodes well for ICT,” he said.

SINGAPORE
A window into the Lion City Singapore’s focus on ICT was provided by the Singapore minister of information, communications and the arts (MICA), RADM (NS) Lui Tuck Yew, in a speech to the Committee of Supply 2011.

The minister showcased Singapore’s progress on the Next Generation National Broadband Network – the ultra-high speed optical fibre network which will be a core backbone of the Lion City’s infocomm infrastructure. The Next Gen NBN is targeted at providing broadband access speeds of one gigabyte per second (Gbps) and beyond, between 10 to 100 times faster than public networks today.

 

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