Microsoft response to Budget 2017: A step forward in building a digital economy
Microsoft Malaysia today welcomed the 2017 National Budget themed “Ensuring Unity and Economic Growth, Inclusive Prudent Spending, Wellbeing of the Rakyat.”
“We are thrilled that the Budget for next year recognizes the contribution of the digital economy to the country’s GDP. Initiatives such as the Malaysia Digital Hub and the creation of the world’s first Digital Free Zone are steps in the right direction to bolster the country’s strategic ICT thrust,” said K Raman, Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia.
“This is clearly in line with our mission to empower every person and every organization in Malaysia to achieve more, and we remain fully committed to working closely with the Government and businesses to digitally transform. We’ve worked hard over the past 25 years to become a trusted advisor to the Government, providing over RM17 million in grants and skills training, and will continue to do so for the future.”
Accelerating the Digital Economy
With the announcement of the first ever Digital Free Zone in the world, set to stimulate growth and drive efficiency in the digital world by merging physical and virtual zones to facilitate international eCommerce, Raman commented: “This is a very exciting time for Malaysia, as a growing digital economy needs a strong support structure and ecosystem to thrive. Initiatives such as the Digital Free Zone will set the country apart as a key differentiator amongst other competing nations.”
“Microsoft Malaysia also lauds the announcement of the Digital Maker Movement and the Malaysia Digital Hub, which will help nurture talents and create innovators, while enabling the country to be a fully sustainable digital economy,” he added.
Inclusive Education and Empowering Human Capital
Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak also underscored the need for every rakyat in this country to have complete access to education – indicating that RM4.7 billion will be allocated for 20 public universities to ensure higher education will be on par with global standards. Additional funds were also allocated for scholarships and to foster a stronger research culture in the country.
This continued drive for quality education is commended by Microsoft Malaysia. Raman said, “Education is the bedrock of today’s society. At Microsoft, we’ve always been committed to transforming education with technology. This year, we’ve accelerated our support by working with the Government to reach out to underserved communities – for instance, we’ve forged a three-year partnership with the Malaysian Prisons Department to provide juvenile inmates with digital literacy and upskilling opportunities.”
Not forgetting educators, the Budget also tabled that 430,000 teachers will get free tablets to aid in their profession. “While we’re equipping students with the skills to compete globally, we’re also looking at creating new innovative experiences and scenarios for our teachers in today’s 21st century classrooms,” said Raman. “This is in line with the Government’s initiatives to provide the tools necessary for this to take place.”
Enabling Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through Innovative Partnerships
Realizing the significant contribution of the SMEs in the nation’s growth and labor market, the Government has also declared 2017 to be the Startup and SME Promotion Year, allocating a total of RM75 million to implement programs under the overall SME Master Plan.
Microsoft Malaysia praises the Government’s support in implementing these programs, which would enable the growth and advancement of SMEs. “Some 97 percent of business establishments in Malaysia are SMEs, and at Microsoft, we understand the value they lend to the nation. They account for 57% of the country’s total employment, we are committed to ensuring that their transformational journey is complete via initiatives like the Cloud Solution Providers (CSP) Program. The allocations will provide the necessary innovation and advance solutions for SMEs to improve their competitiveness within the industry,” said Raman.
Ensuring Unity and Economic Growth, Inclusive Prudent Spending, Wellbeing of the Rakyat
Microsoft Malaysia supports the initiatives under the 2017 National Budget, geared towards accelerating a digital economy, providing an inclusive education for all, and enabling businesses to achieve more.
“We will continue to support the Government and deliver on our commitment to driving economic growth, innovation and societal impact in Malaysia,” concluded Raman.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
 Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program helps organizations to build and grow profitable cloud service businesses.