Truth to be told, the National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) role in the local ICT industry is much more than just being the organizer of PC Fair. Given that it represents more than 1,000 information and communications technology companies in Malaysia regardless of sizes and origins, PIKOM aimed to be the voice of the industry and it has recently released an ICT-specific “wishlist” for Budget 2016 which will be tabled by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib at the Parliament later this week.
The first in the list is to have ICT products and services to be exempted from Good and Services Tax (GST) as the association claimed that demand in such products and services has dropped 30% since the implementation of GST in addition to the weakening of Ringgit.
Not only that, PIKOM also claimed the implementation of GST also affected ICT adoption among SME as well as rural and underprivileged community. The association believes that ICT products and services will be able to remain affordable if they are exempted from GST.
PIKOM also recommends that government increase the amount of deductible income tax from RM 3,000 to RM 4,000 for the purchase of PCs and laptops for personal use to help encourage adoption and usage of ICT products and related services. Other than that, it also believes that reintroducing the EPF withdrawals to purchase computing products might be able to help the cause as well.
At the same time, the association also proposed that government to seriously look into reducing the prices for broadband connectivity in Malaysia which is something that goes along with the wishes of consumers out there. Specifically, PIKOM suggested that government need to regulate the pricing of broadband and nurture competition among the industry players as it believes that affordable broadband will help boosts local economy.
Meanwhile, PIKOM also has few more suggestions within its Budget 2016 wishlist such as a standardization of cost and transparency for tender process in GLC as well as personal tax rebate or deductions for individuals going through ICT-related certifications. Given the timing, we wonder if government will actually consider these suggestions but nevertheless, we’ll keep a close look at the Budget 2016’s tabling this coming Friday for any ICT-related announcements.