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Budget 2023 commentary: Trend Micro, Airbnb, EdgePoint, Palo Alto Networks

By Goh Chee Hoh, Managing Director, Trend Micro Malaysia and Nascent Countries

Trend Micro commends the Malaysian government’s unwavering commitment to elevating the country’s digital security landscape in the Budget 2023 tabling. The targeted cybersecurity measures outlined will not only boost our nation’s cybersecurity but also serve to increase stakeholder and end-user confidence. Ultimately, the nation’s business competitiveness will definitely be boosted as well, in line with Malaysia’s sustained drive towards becoming a resilient and sustainable nation, across the digital realm as well.

We would like to laud the establishment of a National Scam Response Center, in collaboration with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), National Anti-Financial Crime Center (NFCC), and the financial institutions.

This is pivotal as the centralization of the various leading national agencies under a single unit will strategically enhance our country’s unwavering efforts in combating cybercrime.

The establishment of the center certainly synergizes well with the proposed allocation of RM73 million to CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity resilience by improving the monitoring, detection, and cybercrime reporting capabilities.

We would like to laud the establishment of a National Scam Response Center, in collaboration with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), National Anti-Financial Crime Center (NFCC), and the financial institutions.

We trust that the government will remain steadfast in strengthening the nation’s data security stance, by continuing to enhance existing legal provisions to protect the country against new or heightened cyber risk perpetrated by cybercriminals. Apart from establishing the required infrastructure, proactive and effective cybersecurity investments and measures should also be looked into to ensure business continuity.  

Today’s Budget 2023 cybersecurity-related announcements are no doubt bold and visionary as the nation continues to take the right steps forward in addressing today’s ever-evolving cyberfraud landscape. While the government demonstrates a sustained commitment in the critical business area, Trend Micro would like to urge Malaysian organizations to rethink their cybersecurity approach.

The importance and value of investing in cybersecurity is the best option and a promising long-term frontier for businesses to stay ahead of the cybersecurity game. The ideal approach is to embark on the journey to adopt a unified cybersecurity platform to minimize visibility gaps, enhance risk assessments, and protect the organizations’ expanding digital attack surface.  

EdgePoint commentary

Suresh Sidhu, CEO, EdgePoint Infrastructure  

Belanjawan 2023 was announced today, outlining a number of initiatives that will further develop the nation’s digital infrastructure. The full deployment of the 5G network, as well as Jendela, which now moves into Phase 2, are a strong start. The initiatives announced in the budget all indicate the need for a more robust digital ecosystem, with a few details behind these that would need more focus.

To accelerate the advancement of telecommunications infrastructure and simultaneously support the rakyat’s connectivity needs, as a country we need to outline the right national policies for access to sites and sharing and have clear frameworks to allow for increased investments into this space.  In this context, harmonising local government practices is key.

To realize the full potential of 5G and ensure a seamless 4G to 5G transition we need an all-inclusive, vibrant 5G ecosystem. We need to firstly ensure there is adequate access and resources for this ecosystem to work with each other.

To accelerate the advancement of telecommunications infrastructure and simultaneously support the rakyat’s connectivity needs, as a country we need to outline the right national policies for access to sites and sharing and have clear frameworks to allow for increased investments into this space.  In this context, harmonising local government practices is key.

We believe that there is strong appetite for investments in digital infrastructure from global investors. Malaysia must create a welcoming ecosystem for investors who are keen to fund the development of telecommunications infrastructure in the country. Global investors bring not only the funds but also new practices and cutting edge technology which can help accelerate the establishment of enabling infrastructure. We need to ensure we have a sound policy and incentive framework for attracting and retaining these infrastructure investors.

We would like to see an increased emphasis on ensuring the enterprise related 5G ecosystem can thrive in Malaysia, namely the adoption and use of IOT networks, private networks and edge technology. In addition, we see opportunities for public-private partnerships to adopt new ways of operating as well as new technologies in helping close the digital divide. As an example, national scale towercos could operate rural sites on a lease basis, including providing shared radio networks, thereby reducing government capital expenditure in the medium term.

EdgePoint infrastructure looks forward to playing a part in fulfilling the nation’s digital agenda.

Airbnb comment

Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan

We commend the government’s provision of RM1.5 billion dedicated to tourism financing, and a further RM200 million to tourism rejuvenation efforts. In particular, we believe that the allocations of RM90 million to promote tourism programmes and RM25 million in discounts, vouchers and rebates of up to RM100 will encourage domestic tourism spend and further drive tourism recovery.

We continue to urge the government to extend these ongoing initiatives and new incentives to the short-term rental accommodation (STRA) industry, which is a key contributor to the tourism economy.

We also applaud the allocation of RM10 million to spur Malaysia’s ecotourism – which includes upgrades in Gua Kelam, Perlis; sustainable solid waste management efforts in Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu; and investment in ecotourism activities in Taman Pertanian Jubli Perak Sultan Ahmad Shah, Pahang. In line with our MOU partnership with the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC), we are committed to supporting the country’s green growth agenda and helping to rebuild tourism more sustainably, including educating and empowering more Airbnb Hosts to adopt green practices.

The ongoing resurgence of domestic and inbound travel is creating new economic opportunities for communities in emerging and off-the-beaten destinations*. Notably, the typical earnings for non-urban Airbnb Hosts in Malaysia increased by approximately a third in the second quarter of 2022, compared to the same pre-pandemic period in 2019*.

We continue to urge the government to extend these ongoing initiatives and new incentives to the short-term rental accommodation (STRA) industry, which is a key contributor to the tourism economy.

Globally, long-term stays of over 28 days continue to comprise Airbnb’s fastest-growing category by trip length, more than doubling from 2019. We believe that the government’s goal to develop six new digital nomad-friendly hotspots and certify 2,000 short term rental accommodation stays as DE Rantau hubs under the DE Rantau programme, will help drive longer stays and position Malaysia as an ideal global destination for remote workers.

As a partner to the Malaysian Government, Airbnb remains committed to working hand in hand with the government, our local Host community, and our partners in the public and private sectors to drive economic growth and resilience in the post-pandemic era and beyond.

*New Airbnb data shows how tourism has dispersed post-pandemic

Palo Alto Networks comments

“It is heartening to see the Malaysian government triple its cybersecurity investment three fold this year from RM 21m in 2021 to RM 73m this year. We applaud the initiatives set up for incident response and overall awareness. What is more crucial is to pay attention to the fundamentals which include shoring up investment in cybersecurity defence infrastructure and early detection. This is key to the success of a 5G rollout in the pipeline,” said Suk Hua Lim, country manager, Palo Alto Networks, Malaysia.